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“Climate change a major challenge in rainfed areas”

Staff Reporter



B .Venkateswaralu, Director, Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture, speaking at a workshop in Coimbatore on Saturday.

COIMBATORE: Climate change is a major challenge faced by rainfed areas through long spells of drought and followed by heavy rains causing floods, according to the Director of Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA), B .Venkateswaralu.

Speaking at the two-day national workshop on “Dryland Development and Maximising Crop Productivity” at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, he pointed out that the concept of “conservation agriculture” and energy efficient pumpsets could help overcome this problem.

“Conservation agriculture involves minimum or zero tillage with less disturbance to the soil and leaving the crop residuals on the soil surface as much as possible. Energy efficient pumpsets reduces the emission of green house gases which contribute to climatic change,” Mr. Venkateswaralu said.

He pointed out that mechanisation of agriculture in dryland areas was a matter of great concern due to the inability of the farmers to buy mechanized equipment. This challenge could be addressed through Operational Research Projects (ORP).

In the ORP, the improved machinery was demonstrated in farmers' fields which would enable them to suggest creation of workable institutional mechanisms. The CRIDA was currently working on such ORPs on farmers' fields, he added.

He drew attention to supplemental irrigational facility through farm ponds during rainy season. A mission mode approach was necessary for water harvesting through farm ponds by ORP for which National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) needed to be merged with activities of the Department of Agricultural Activities.

Vice-Chancellor of the university Murugesa Boopathi said that the low productivity in dryland areas was due to frequent droughts, degraded soils, sub-optimal nutrient application, low-nutrient use efficiency and nutrient mining.

Mr. Murugesa Boopathi urged farmers to grow the “ANNA 4” rice variety released by the TNAU. This variety gave a yield of 3.2 tonnes a hectare as compared to 1.2 tonnes of other varieties.

The Tamil Nadu Government provided 50 percent subsidy to farmers for procurement of farm machinery. To promote mechanisation, TNAU proposed to establish model farms in two of its research stations at Cuddalore and Bhavanisagar where it would demonstrate and educate farmers.

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