The Telegraph
Sunday , March 3 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Two institutes to join hands for rice labour

Cuttack, March 2: The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is planning to collaborate with the Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI) here, to overcome the crisis of labour shortage in rice sector in near future.

“Shortage of labour is emerging as a major concern in rice sector. So, in the coming days we will be focussing on development of machines for easy cultivation of rice,” said J.K. Ladha, IRRI representative for India, while attending an international symposium on “Sustainable rice production and livelihood security: challenges and opportunities” held at the CRRI.

While the IRRI has collaborated with the CRRI in as many as 24 projects in last December, Ladha said it would continue its expertise exchange with CRRI to improve the yield. Sources in the CRRI said the 24 collaborative projects were in the field of biotechnology and nano technology.

The three-day symposium organised by Association of Rice Research Workers (ARRW) witnessed congregation of around 300 eminent delegates from the country and abroad. Experts will deliberate on rice industry, including rice genomes and enhancing nutritional quality.

Odisha’s agriculture minister Debi Prasad Mishra said the state government had been trying its best to boost the rice productivity in the state.

“We have been able to increase the yield to 22.90 quintal per hectare which is more than the national average. With a special budget announced by the government for agriculture, the rice sector is going to get a boost in coming times,” said Mishra.

With CRRI working for development of aerobic rice, which requires minimum water, Odisha is expected to gain an upper hand in rice production. “Last year, we had developed aerobic rice and also conducted surveys in various saline areas to develop rice varieties having salinity tolerance. In the future, our priority will be rice varieties having short duration and high yield,” said Mohapatra.

India has been one of the largest rice exporters with five million tonnes annually and the export generates revenue of Rs 14,000 crore. Odisha’s Basmati varieties have a huge demand in international market.

Deputy director general (crop science) of Indian Council of Agricultural Research S.K Dutta said the central government had planned to bring a second green revolution in eastern India.

“With a budgetary allocation of Rs 1000 crore for eastern India, the rice sector will witness a growth,” said Dutta.

The association formed in 1961 with its headquarters at CRRI, has been organising national and international seminars on enhancing the rice productivity.