July 31, 2022 09:03 pm | Updated August 06, 2022 05:01 pm IST – Kanale, Shivamogga
Heavy downpour has left vast tracts of paddy fields at villages in Sagar taluk of Shivamogga district inundated, but the farmers in the villages of Saidur, Kanale and Hirenallur gram panchayats grow a flood-resistant traditional variety called Nereguli, which has stood them in good stead. Though the yield is less compared to other varieties of paddy, this variety has higher rate of tolerance to flood.
Generations of cultivation
“We have witnessed floods in our region for decades. Our forefathers found Nereguli paddy the best variety to cultivate in our area. The paddy did not lose its quality even when the field was inundated for 40 days,” said Jayanth, a resident of Tadagalale in Saidur panchayat. Nowadays, he argued, with the extensive use of chemical fertilizers, this variety of paddy too could withstand flood only for 25 days. “Even then, it is a better variety for our climate condition,” he added.
Nereguli variety yields about 15 bags of paddy, each weighing about 60 kg per acre. Though this is less compared to other popular varieties, farmers prefer this variety over others considering the local conditions.
“Small growers get yield that is sufficient for the family for a year. We have been cultivating the same variety for years,” said Nagaraj of Beesanagadde village.
The scientists of Keladi Shivappa Nayaka University of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences in Shivamogga have taken the Nereguli variety for research. The researchers collected the sample from the field to assess its tolerance to flooding.
B.M. Dyshyanth Kumar, Professor in Genetics and Plant Breeding at the university, told The Hindu that this particular variety had been popular in flood-prone areas. The farmers had cultivated that variety traditionally for several years.
“There are such varieties in parts of Odisha and West Bengal, which are vulnerable to floods. We have collected the samples from villages in parts of Hosanagar taluk and the research is still going on. The university has also developed a new variety of paddy by crossing Nereguli with other high-yielding paddy varieties. The field test is going on. We will come out with the results soon”, said Dr. Kumar.
There are a few flood-resistant and drought-resistant varieties of paddy and the university has a bank of such varieties collected from different places across the country.
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