SRI technology may be a boon for farmers growing paddy in Punjab

Experiments on System of Rice Intensification (SRI) technique for growing paddy in Gurdaspur district for the last six years promise to usher in a new era for growers in Punjab as far as yield, input costs and profit margins are concerned.

Agriculture Development Officer in Gurdaspur, Dr Amrik Singh, said results of the experiments conducted by the agriculture department with the help of Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA), Gurdaspur, has indicated the superiority of SRI practices over the traditional methods for rice cultivation.

To compare the two methods, trials were conducted in the fields of five farmers of Khokhar village, using rice variety HKR-47. "Two water metres were installed on tubewells to quantify the water used for irrigation and the results showed that with SRI, the yield improved by 19 per cent, water usage dropped by 20 per cent and income of farmers improved by 25 per cent," Singh added.

With paddy growers facing the problem of monsoon failures as well as uncertain distribution of rainfall, Singh said farmers must use high-powered pumps to reach supplies lower in the soil for paddy crops.

"Increasing rice productivity is a major challenge due to water constraints, declining cultivation area and ever-increasing costs," he said, while adding that SRI technique was the answer to address all such issues.

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