Heat Wave may Spoil Late Rabi Crop
Agricultural scientists are worried that pollination may be disturbed due to intense heat
Kolkata: Agricultural scientists have raised concern over the continuing heat wave in eastern India, saying the high tempreratures can harm the late rabi or ‘boro’ paddy crop in West Bengal and Odisha, the country’s two major rice producing states.
Boro paddy is usually sown in November and harvested in May. “High temperature affects the pollination stage of the paddy crop,” said Dr AK Nayak, director at Cuttack, Odisha-based ICARNational Rice Research Institute. “In early rabi paddy variety, pollination is over. Maybe in some cases in late variety, paddy pollination may get disturbed due to the high temperature. If the tempera- ture is above 37 degree during pollination, then the process gets affected.” Nayak said at the ripening stage, if temperature is high ‘packing of starch’ in the grain gets affected and it develops chalkiness. “In simple words, produc- tivity may not be affected but quality suffers,” he said.
Scientists said in a temperature range of 22-31 degrees, the growth rate of paddy increases linearly. But higher temperature adversely affects growth and productivity. Odisha, West Bengal and parts of Assam produce 5.5 million tonne of rice from the rabi paddy crop.
Besides the high temperature, these rice producing states are also worried over the availability of funds under the Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India (BGREI) initiative. BGREI, a scheme introduced by the previous UPA government, aims at increasing rice and wheat production in eastern India. The scheme covers seven states — Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, eastern UP and West Bengal. “All the seven states are ready with their plan. The central government has to approve our plans and allocate funds. We hope that funds come before the beginning of the kharif season,” a senior official with the West Bengal agriculture department said.