The National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning (NBSS&LUP) at Nagpur has identified 13,408 hectares of fallow land in Goa, mostly in Tiswadi and Bardez talukas of North Goa district, state agriculture director Nelson Figueiredo told PTI.
The study has indicated that 35 per cent of the fallow land can be brought under cultivation after taking up basic things like de-weeding, he said.
Nearly 30,000 hectares of land in the state is currently under paddy cultivation, he added.
A fallow field is a piece of land that a farmer ploughs but does not cultivate for one or more seasons to allow it recover its fertility.
Figueireido said the soil survey bureau's report has also studied characteristics of the fallow land so that farmers can be guided on the kind of plantation that could be taken up in such areas.
He, however, said the basic challenge for the state government is to make cultivation of paddy -- the staple food and primary agriculture crop -- a profitable venture for farmers.
For this, the government is promoting mechanised paddy transplantation (with the help of machines), which takes care of the escalating costs of labour and their scarcity.
"The availability of labour is a major problem in the coastal talukas of Pernem, Tiswadi, Bardez and Salcette. Mechanised transplantation was started a few years back on a smaller scale but it is now being promoted," he said.
In another boost to paddy farming, the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) has discovered Goa Dhan I and Goa Dhan II varieties of rice, which can be grown in areas where the water is saline, Figueiredo said.
"Several areas have been left without good crops because of the saline water. These varieties of rice are an answer to the problem. Farmers have (already) cultivated the Goa Dhan varieties of rice on 50 hectares of area," he said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)