Orissa farmers asked to use short duration paddy

June 24th, 2009 - 7:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, June 24 (IANS) Farmers in Orissa have been told to go for short and medium duration paddy crops in upland non-irrigated areas this kharif season as there was a delay in the arrival of the monsoon, officials said Wednesday.
Orissa is one of the major rice-growing states in India, with about four million hectares under paddy cultivation. Over 62 percent of the cropped area in the state is rain-fed.

The monsoon normally arrives in the state by June 10. But save for some scattered rain in the last week of May, Orissa has been witnessing a dry spell.

“The crop season may get reduced by 10-15 days this year due to the delay in arrival of rains,” said agriculture and food production director Arabinda Kumar Padhee.

“We are advising farmers, particularly those who grow crops on non-irrigated and upland areas, to use short and medium duration paddy seeds,” Padhee told IANS.

At least eight lakh hectares of the state’s agriculture land are upland and farmers may opt for paddy that is harvested within 90 to 120 days in place that need 140 to 145 days, he said.

The state government has formed a committee on crop weather watch comprising senior government officials.

“We have analysed the rain data since 2005 and found that the onset of monsoon was always delayed in the state except last year,” Padhee said.

The primary crops that depend on rain in the state are paddy, oilseeds, pulses, millet, and cotton.

“All the crops are going to be affected because there is no rain,” said Jagdish Pradhan, convener of a farmers’ organisation.

“The meteorological office predicted early monsoon and believing them, farmers, especially in the western parts of the state, went in for early sowing,” he said. The long dry spell has now damaged seedlings, he added.

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