Improved paddy seeds yet to reach farmers

- RAJENDRA NATH, Nepalgunj

Sep 11, 2014-

The Agriculture Research Centre has recommended a number of climate-smart paddy varieties able to thrive in flood and drought-affected environments, but farmers complain that they are yet to see these modern seeds.

The Nepal Agricultural Research Council (Narc) has recommended six drought and flood-tolerant paddy seeds for the western Tarai region. However, many years have passed and these varieties have not reached the targeted groups.

Due to lack of knowledge of the potential of these climate-smart seeds, farmers have continued using their traditional seeds with the consequences of a fall in production whenever there is a natural disaster.  

Four years ago, the research centre in Khajura had recommended drought and flood-tolerant paddy seeds like Sukkha 1, 2 and 3.  

Sukkha 1 has a potential yield of 4.6 tonnes per hectare in normal situations. The productivity of Sukkha 2 and Sukkha 3 stands at 6 tonnes and 3.8 tonnes per hectare respectively. The improved seeds Sukkha Dhan 1, Sukkha Dhan 2 and Sukkha Dhan 3 were released in 2011.

Recently, Narc also released Sukkha 4, 5 and 6 varieties of paddy seeds, which can survive under stress and retain desirable grain qualities that can create positive impacts on the lives of farmers. Among these three, Sukkha 6 has the ability to re-grow even two weeks after submergence.

It has an average yield of 4-4.5 tonnes per hectare, and under good irrigation conditions, the output can go up to 5.5 tonnes per hectare.

The plant stands 125 cm tall and the maturity period is 120-125 days.

The Seed Varieties Release, Approval and Registration Sub-Committee of the National Seed Board had approved these new seeds in August 2013 and they were released to farmers in June this year.

“The newly released varieties have a potential to yield 20 percent more paddy compared to other traditional varieties even during disasters like droughts and floods,” said Agro Scientist Ram Bahadur Khadka.  

Responding to farmers’ claims that seeds have not reached their fields, the District Agriculture Development Office (DADO) said it had been promoting and publicizing the new varieties.

Rajendra Pradhan, chief of the DADO, Banke, said that it was difficult for farmers to switch to new varieties instantly as they had been using the Radha 4 variety for a long time. Around 65 percent of the farmers in Banke use Radha 4. “Due to lack of awareness, they cannot immediately switch to newer varieties. Besides, there has been limited publicity of the new breeds.”

For the last few years, floods and droughts have been affecting crops in the Far Western Region on a large scale. This year too scanty rains have affected paddy transplantation in Banke, Bardia and Dang districts.

Likewise, floods have also affected hundreds of hectares of paddy fields in various parts of the region. Around 400 hectares of paddy fields were destroyed by floods in Banke this year, according to the DADO.

Published: 12-09-2014 09:32

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