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Film on rice harvests silver
- Mumbai documentary body to fete state filmmaker duo

Ranchi, Oct. 21: When an innovative method of rice cultivation falls on the creative radar of two sensitive filmmakers, the result is an evocative film that goes places.

Jharkhand’s noted documentary filmmaker duo Meghnath and Biju Toppo have bagged a silver medal for its theme from Indian Documentary Producers’ Association (IDPA), Mumbai, for their film Ek Ropa Dhan on systematic rice intensification (SRI), a revolutionary method of maximising rice yield by using less water and seeds.

The duo will get the award on October 27 at a function in Mumbai. “Our film got selected for its theme and I will be going to Mumbai to receive the award,” beamed Meghnath.

The IPDA had awarded the duo’s production house Akhara before for the film Iron is Hot. “Our documentary Ek Ropa Dhan was produced in early 2009. It deals with SRI, which ensures maximum harvest without hike in farmer’s investment,” said Meghnath.

In fact, the duo had toured different parts of the state and shot this documentary on rice fields that deployed the SRI method.

Going beyond the call of duty, as it were, the filmmakers had also made a compact disc of the documentary and distributed copies to farmers to convince them to try out this novel method.

The SRI method, developed in 1983 by French Jesuit priest Father Henri Laulanie in Madagascar, spaces rice saplings widely unlike the cramped conventional method, so that their roots draw enough nourishment and leaves are photo-synthetically active.

“When climate change is the biggest threat faced by farmers and monsoon gets more irregular, the SRI method which requires less water can help farmers cultivate paddy,” Meghnath said.

The SRI system is being promoted in the state by Krishi Gram Vikas Kendra, the corporate sustainability arm of Usha Martin Group as well as Pradan.

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