Monday, July 16, 2012

Farming and living a generation before

My mother accompanied me this time to farm. She is around 77 and healthy and walks around the farm and does not have the fear of the new generation about snakes. Once a friend from Bangalore visited my farm and I had asked them to come wearing shoes if possible so that it is easy to walk around. On arriving I told him, about the snakes so have to walk carefully, he was scared and was thinking of going back without seeing the farm !!!

My mother was telling me that they had 3.5 acres of land and the complete family was dependent on that land, they were 5 daughters and two sons. All of them will be completely busy with farming work/work at home from morning to evening.  Money was hard to generate and mainly came from selling the coconut and cashew nut. They had rice field and used to do two cultivations in a year. Once in June time frame and second at October. The second cultivation is based on water from the canal, which is coming from natural sources. I remember this canal where I used to catch fishes in bottle when I was small. Most of the items were produced at farm, seasonal vegetables and rice was there. There were no vegetable shops since people produced their own vegetables. In the afternoon they buy fish and for dinner fish curry will be there. Fish merchants carry the fish on the two baskets which will be hung on a wooden support which they carry on their shoulders.

The rice they farm is not sold and consumed completely at home.

People used to cultivate 'modon' also called as 'paramban' in the forest land after clearing the woods and also in the land they have. They will plough the land and after that these paddy seeds will be sown and they are completely rain fed. It will be grown among the trees takes around 5 months to mature.. sowing done along with first rain in April mid.

Life was all around farming,not much money and not much worries.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Yield of traditional rice varieties

Green revolution in India had started with agenda of increasing grain production after independence. To increase grain production the following were done 1. Increasing farm area 2. Irrigation facilities with big dams and channels so that instead of single crop 2 crops could be cultivated comfortably 3. Introduction of HYVs (High Yielding Varieties) which matured in short duration and produced heavy yield under chemical fertilisers.

It has been told that yield of traditional rice varieties is low and to increase the production dwarf varieties of rice called HYVs like IR8 was produced which gives better results on application of fertilizers. IR8 gave 5 tons per hectre without fertilizer and 10 tons per hectre with chemical fertilizers. The traditional varieties were giving only 1-2 tons per hectre, as per the history.

On introducing the semi dwarf verieties farmers stopped cultivation of traditional varieties. It is said that India had 1,10,000 varieties of rice and kerala had 4000 varieties.

But recent reports show that there are many traditional varieties which provides 5-10 tons of yield per hectre. Here is a summary of performance of Indigenous Rice Varieties under SRI method, provided by Dr.Norman Thomas Uphoff of Cornell University, USA.

So if there were alternatives available locally, then what was the reason for going for dwarf varieties and resulting in chemical pollution and wiping out all the diversity?Probably if local varieties were used to achieve the production, then the diversity would have preserved and Indian agriculture would have been different. For any country locally available seeds/diversity is the best.

Performance of Some Indigenous Rice Varieties Under
System of Rice Intensification ( Kharif 2010) in Sambhav

Name of the Varities
Yield per Hectare
(in tonne)
Talamuli (1)
Surangibaran (1)
Agnilaal (1)
Laghu Pathara, Runja Manika, Dilip Mota, Sita Sal, Radha Tilak,
Birai, Gopal Bhog, Sunapani (deep water rice), Sana Bhata Dhan, Morikhas, Ketaki Champa (11)
Nandika, Khajur Cheri, Bhainspat, Banamal, Mayurkantha, Narayan Kamini, Lathisal, Karpurakeli (Aromatic), Govind Bhoga (Aromatic), Banspatri, Samalai Bhog (Aromatic), Saragtara, Debrani, Ajirbana, Ketakijoha (Aromatic) (15) (Aromatic – 4)
Barhagali, Andharchaki, Dandabalunga, Nadiaphula, Mugudi, Hari Shankar, Barapanka, Kalabarni, kajal Kanhei, Kukudamunda,Badagandamala, Kolajan, Jagatsinghpur Basmati, Saru Chinamali, Ghios, Bhaluki (no.2), Sunasari, Meghamala, Kalakanhu, Katrangi, Gangabali (Aromatic), Baramasi, Tulsi Mukul (Aromatic),Chamormoni , Batakalama, Kanakchur, Kuja, Kuji patali, Jalendri, Rahaspanjar , Matabhog (Aromatic), Panicheri, Kalajeera (Aromatic), Basbhog (Aromatic), Doddaberunelu, Banglapatnai (36) (Aromatic – 5)
Banapuri, Kankhri, Bhalu Dubraj, Ramsal, Kerandi, Ramigali, Laghu Bhutia, Gedi Kanhei, Lim Dhan, Alsikiba, Raghusal, Nadiajodi, Badanali, Kalonunia (Aromatic), Dhusura Bhutia, Silkote, Balabhadrabhog, Baikani, Nalipakhia, Mugajai (Aromatic),Dudh Kalama, Jawaphul (Aromatic), Kalakadam, Geleigeti, Chudi, Kadalia Champa, Bhelian, Ganagabali (no. 2), Tulsa, Raniakhanda, Kajalamali, Jhingesal, Dhaniaphual, Tulsibasa (Aromatic), Khaw Dam (34) (Aromatic – 4)

  • These varieties were collected from various states (donated by various people and institutions). Some are grown for the first time and some are already grown for more than one season in Sambhav.
  • Since Sambhav has a small patch of land (1.5 acres) where it is growing more than 350 varieties for seed only. So the calculations are made following established method only. These are not actual productions.
  • Performance of many varieties, specifically upland varieties are not yet compiled.