From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Rice cultivation
Mains level : Sustainable agricultural practices
Experts in Punjab has said that System of Rice Intensification (SRI) Technique is beneficial for the soil, environment and farmers at par with the Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR) technique.
What is SRI technique?
- SRI was first developed in Madagascar in the 1980s and since then several countries in the world have been practising it, including India.
- It promises to save 15 to 20% ground water, improves rice productivity, which is almost at a stagnant point now.
- Experts said that it gives equal or more produce than the conventional rice cultivation, with less water, less seed and less chemicals.
- The net effect is a substantial reduction in the investments on external inputs.
How does it take place in the field and in which soil?
- First, the field is prepared by ploughing.
- It should be laser levelled before transplanting for proper water management and efficiency for a good crop stand.
- Then irrigation is applied in the field which is not a flooding of field like traditional methods but less than that of a well irrigated field.
- Then 10-12 days old nursery (young paddy plants) along with soil particles around the root with minimum disturbance to the roots are transplanted in lines.
- They are marked at a distance of 10 inches from each other with the help of a rope meter.
Benefits over DSR technique
- Unlike DSR, which is suitable only for mid to heavy textured soils, SRI is suitable in all types of soil including less fertile soil as in such soil the number of seedlings can be increased to double.
- Under SRI 2kg seed is required to grow a nursery for one acre against 5kg seed required in the traditional method.
Does the SRI method require continuous flooding after transplantation of nursery?
- In traditional sowing from the day of transplanting till the crop turns 35-40 days fields are kept under flood-like conditions.
- And then fields are filled every week till a few weeks before harvesting.
- But SRI doesn’t require continuous flooding, it needs intermittent irrigation.
- Indeed the plants’ roots should not be starved for oxygen through flooding.
- Irrigation is given to maintain soil moisture near saturation initially, and water is added to the field when the surface soil develops hairline cracks.
What are the limitations of SRI?
- If unchecked, greater weed growth will cause substantial loss of yield.
- In Punjab, it is not promoted by the government except demonstration plots sown over a decade ago.
- It can be sustainable if organic inputs in the soil structure are maintained.
Try this PYQ:
Q.With reference to the current trends in the cultivation of sugarcane in India, consider the following statements:
- A substantial saving in seed material is made when ‘bud chip settlings are raised in a nursery and transplanted in the main field.
- When direct planting of setts is done, the germination percentage is better with single-budded setts as compared to setts with many buds.
- If bad weather conditions prevail when setts are directly planted, single-budded setts have better survival as compared to large setts.
- Sugarcane can be cultivated using settlings prepared from tissue culture.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 3 only
(c) 1 and 4 only
(d) 2,3 and 4 only
Post your answers here.