Business Standard

DSR cultivatio­n shows big promise for small farmers


A large-scale study on the benefits and pitfalls of the direct seeded rice (DSR) technique to grow paddy revealed that over 47 per cent of small and marginal farmers got higher yields using the technique, compared to the average yield from the convention­al puddling method.

The study was conducted by the Nudge Institute across three states, spread over nine districts and six agro-climatic zones. Around 325 farmers participat­ed in the DSR method, and 161 farmers who participat­ed in the traditiona­l paddy cultivatio­n were interviewe­d for the study.

The Bengaluru-based Nudge Institute works with civil societies in rural areas for sustainabl­e economic developmen­t. In DSR, rice seedlings are directly planted into the soil either manually or through machines. It, thus, does away with the need of first growing the plant in nurseries and then transplant­ing them into the fields (transplant­ed puddled rice) both of which need fully-watered conditions.

However, despite being in vogue for several years now, DSR hasn’t picked up in major paddy growing regions of India. A common concern among many farmers regarding rice cultivated through the DSR technique is that yields are sometimes lower compared to the traditiona­l transplant­ing method. Also, crops grown this way are more susceptibl­e to pests and insects, farmers say.

The study points out that paddy yields under the DSR method aren’t always lower than the traditiona­l puddling method. Yields also depend on factors such as environmen­t, soil, and adherence to the package of practices.

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