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Trilochan Mohapatra, director of Central Rice Research Institute, in an interview with Komal Amit Gera, talks about how government agencies should rise to the occasion to help farmers facing untimely and excess rains. Edited excerpts:
Heavy rains are resulting in water logging in some areas. Would this hit sowing?
If sowing has already been carried out in low-lying areas, the crops would be damaged. If fields are flooded for four to five days, it would harm seeds. Farmers in such areas would have to re-sow their fields.
In eastern states such as Chhattisgarh, farmers haven't even prepared the fields. With the monsoon two weeks early, what can they do?
Farmers in such areas may be hit, as direct seeding cannot be carried out in moist fields. They would have to prepare a nursery for the paddy plant and transplant these to the fields. They would incur a sowing cost. However, paddy can be sowed till July 15. So, there is ample time. If the fields are washed away in the floods or seeds are damaged due to any other reason, these can be re-sown. The farmer would have to procure seeds again; the availability of inputs is imperative.
What is the contingency plan?
Our contingency plan is ready. If the fields are submerged in water for a number of days, we would have to re-sow and replant. The availability of seeds and other inputs to farmers from state agriculture departments and agricultural universities can nullify the loss, because we have time.
Different varieties of paddy take 90-180 days to mature. The availability of suitable varieties of seeds and soil nutrients can make up for the loss.