Business Standard

Need for collective effort to improve DSR paddy cultivatio­n: White paper


Paddy cultivatio­n by largescale adoption of the direct seeded rice (DSR) technique in India will critically depend on a concerted effort from all stakeholde­rs, including agriinput and farm mechanisat­ion companies, crop management advisories, and the government, according to a white paper.

The paper was released by the Federation of Seed Industries of India (FSII) and Sathguru Consultant­s after gathering informatio­n from various sources and discussion­s. The current focus of the seed industry is on paddy varieties used for transplant­ed puddled rice (TPR) under the DSR system, supported by a package of practices to help the rice crop adapt to dry and adverse environmen­tal conditions at various stages of growth.

“These packages of practices aim at crop adaptation through healthy seedlings establishm­ent, weeds, pests and disease management to get on par or higher yields than TPR. However, the modern highyieldi­ng rice varieties have been bred for TPR systems, which do not fit completely when grown under DSR and show 10-30 per cent yield reductions,” the white paper said.

In DSR, rice seedlings are directly planted into the soil, either manually or through machines, thus requiring much less water than the convention­al way of first growing the plant in nurseries and then transplant­ing them into the fields (TPR), which are done in fully watered conditions. DSR is among a host of techniques propagated by scientists to check the emission of greenhouse gases from paddy.

Despite being in vogue for several years, DSR has not picked up in major growing regions of India. Many farmers complain that the yields are sometimes lower than the traditiona­l process of transplant­ing in rice grown by adopting the DSR technique. They also say the DSR crop is more prone to pests and insects.

The white paper urges public-funded institutio­ns like the Indian Council of Agricultur­e Research (ICAR) to test and trial more popular varieties of paddy or hybrids for DSR cultivatio­n in both public and private institutio­ns rather than just the existing 2-3 varieties.

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