Agri Business

Now, paddy to come under drip irrigation

L. N. Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on October 20, 2013 Published on October 20, 2013

After providing the drip irrigation technology for cash crops, Netafim Irrigation India Pvt Ltd is now driving adoption of the technology in rice.

Randhir Chauhan, Managing Director, Netafim India, told Business Line that the company decided to experiment the drip fertigation system in rice, oil seeds and pulses as the use of drip irrigation system was largely confined to cash crops such as sugarcane, banana and vegetable crops at present.

“We have been conducting field trials here in rice on a pilot basis, and the initial response has been positive,” Chauhan said, adding that the company was poised to rope in more acreage under drip fertigation in the years to come. Farm Varsity experts estimate the area under rice in India at 42 million hectares.

“Rice is a water-intensive crop. It occupies just about 30 per cent of the cultivable area but consumes nearly 70 per cent of available water. In a bid to reorient the cultivation practice from the present system of inundation to water sustainability, we at Netafim along with experts from the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University have been doing some research trials in fields,” Chauhan said.

He further said that around 25-35 acres have been covered in the pilot phase of the project. “ Our observations revealed that the water utilisation under drip irrigation was just 32 per cent compared to flood irrigation and the farmers could get 20 per cent more yield,” he added.

Meanwhile, Parthasarathy, a farmer at Govindapuram (Amaravathy Sub-basin) in Erode District, told this correspondent that he was among the 10-15 farmers, who cultivated rice using drip irrigation technologyHe said, “We have been raising crops such as onion and citrus since the 80s. Erratic rains and depleting water resources have compelled us to adopt drip irrigation technology. The yields have been good. We need a cold-storage facility to hold our stocks,” he added.

> revathy.lakshminarasimhan@thehindu.co.in

Published on October 20, 2013

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