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Paddy crop in 3L hectares

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Rajahmundry: As the irrigation canals and drains are scheduled to be closed on March 31 for taking up works as part of Godavari delta modernisation, farmers are advised to take up direct sowing of specific varieties of paddy seeds to enable them go for early harvest during rabi season in Godavari districts.

Paddy is raised in about three lakh hectares land in both the districts during rabi and the agriculture authorities are advising the farmers to go for direct sowing of seeds unlike the conventional practice of raising nurseries and transplanting them in the fields. Direct sowing of seeds also helps the farmers save money by engaging farm labourers.

After the launch of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme a few years ago, it has become a Herculean task to the farmers to engage the labourers as nobody is turning up for work as they find work and good wages under the scheme itself.

Agriculture authorities say that it helps the farmers save labour costs to the extent of Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000 per hectare.

The authorities are suggesting to the farmers to use specific variety of seeds like 1001, 1010 and IR 64 if possible and other varieties as they help the crop to reach harvest stage in about 120 days and the direct sowing of seeds helps the farmers to save harvesting time by about a week.

At present the farmers are having 90 days from January 1 to March 30 and as the canals will be closed for repair works the next day, the paddy crop has to depend upon residual moisture in the earth to get nutrition and grow further.

Paucity of time for raising the crop is mainly applicable to the farmers located in central delta area as they harvested the crop at a delayed time following the cyclonic storm Helen.

The farmers located in eastern delta have already started direct sowings much earlier and the exercise is expected to be completed in a day or two. In East Godavari, paddy is expected to be raised in about 1.52 lakh hectares area and out of the required sowings in about 7,500 hectares, the farmers have taken it up in nearly 6,500 hectares.

Both direct sowings and transplantation of paddy has been completed in about 55,000 hectares so far. East Godavari agriculture joint director N. Vijay Kumar said, “We have advised the farmers to opt for direct sowing of paddy seeds as it is having multiple benefits and a good number of them are following it.”

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