Vandana—A Pre-cyclone Rice for the Benefit of Coastal Farmers in Odisha
Coastal part of Odisha frequently faces cyclone of different intensities, particularly in the months of September to November resulting in the damage of wet season’s rice and other field crops to varying degrees. In the end of October 1999, the super cyclone devastated the coastal districts of Odisha, specially Ersama block of Jagatsinghpur district causing total damage of field crops and animals besides, houses and human lives to greater extent. In such unpredictable, adverse situation, the growing of contingent field crops before cyclone will be an appropriate approach for providing food and nutritional security to the farm families. Keeping this in view and also with an aim of restoration of the devastated farming sectors in the super cyclone affected areas of two blocks, Ersama in Jagatsinghpur district and Astaranga in Puri district of Odisha, a project entitled “Management of Coastal agro-ecosystem in super cyclone affected areas in Odisha” was initiated in June 2001. This project for a period of 3 years with funding from NATP to the extent of Rs 195.62 lakhs, is a multidisciplinary and multi institutional activity with NRRI, Cuttack as lead centre and eight other cooperating centers, involving all the ICAR Institutes/Regional Stations and Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology located at Bhubaneswar.
The concept of pre-cyclone rice was conceived for the first time, in addition to many other programmes, especially with the growing of early rice variety ‘Vandana’ (90 days duration) in upland and medium land situations. A total of 100 kg quality seed of this variety was distributed to 19 farmers including the seed production farmers (10) in both target areas. One among these farmers was Mr Seikh Mohammad, about 60 years old, in the village of Chaulia, Ersama block. He belongs to marginal group of farmers with 3 acres of land. He cultivated rice ‘Vandana’ in the wet season of 2002, in 252m2 area of medium land. The nursery was raised on June 8, 2002 and the healthy rice seedlings of 20 days old were transplanted on June 28, 2002. This rice crop was raised with a fertilizer schedule of 60 kg N, and 30 kg each of P2O5 and K2O per ha. The nitrogenous fertilizer was given in two splits, 50% at basal and the rest after 30 days. The major insect pest was gundhibug, at flowering stage of the crop. He controlled the pest of gundhibug by two sprays with the insecticide monocrotophos @ 0.5 kg ai/ha. The rice crop was harvested in the first of September, after 90 days of seeding. Mr. Mohammad realized a rice grain yield of 167 kg in 252 m2 area, that was with an estimated yield of 6.6 t/ha. Other farmers in the project areas obtained a grain yield in the range of 4 to 5 t/ha with in a 3 month period. These farmers were benefited by growing rice ‘Vandana’ and harvesting good quantity of rice within a short period of 90 days. This strategy would held the farmers to escape the bad effects of a possible cyclone in the months of September to November, which occur frequently in Odisha.
This strategy of the project has created greater awareness among the farmers for growing the early rice variety ‘Vandana’. All the adopted farmers are keeping the seeds of this variety for use of the Wet season of 2003. Mr. Seikh Mohammad grew this variety, even in the dry season 2003, to produce more quantity of seeds. About 100 farmers will grow this rice variety ‘Vandana’, by collecting seeds from the adopted farmers. By the end of this project period, it is expected that a large number of farmers will accept this rice variety ‘Vandana’. The cultivation of ‘Vandana’ and similar varieties with early duration will facilitate in the built up of enough reserve food before cyclone occurs in the months of September-November.