Heat Wave may Spoil Late Rabi Crop

Agri­cul­tural sci­en­tists are wor­ried that pol­li­na­tion may be dis­turbed due to in­tense heat

The Economic Times - - Commodities Plus - Su­tanuka.Ghosal @times­group.com

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.

GURU

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