R&D: Scientific Articles

Scientific Articles By Eminent Agriculturists

ORISSA UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE AND TECHNOLOGY: THE PROPELLER OF AGRICULTURAL TRANSFORMATION IN ODISHA

PROF. D. P. RAY

Ex-Vice Chancellor,

Orissa University of Agriculture and  Technology,

Bhubaneswar-3

Odisha continues to remain predominantly an agricultural state with nearly 70 per cent of the total population engaged in agricultural sectors. The economic development of the state is primarily based on development of agriculture per se. The success of agriculture in any state is dependent on the trained manpower meant to convey the efforts of the agriculture and allied science experts in guiding and advising the farming community to make them self sufficient in their food need and to provide raw materials to the industry following intensive crop cultivation, rearing live stocks, poultry and fishery in an integrated manner. Keeping in view the necessity of trained manpower to augment the agricultural development in the state, the Orissa University of Agriculture & Technology was established on 24th August, 1962 as the second oldest Agricultural University of the country and the lone farm varsity of the state, with the sincere effort of the Former Chief Minister of Odisha Late Biju Patnaik which was inaugurated by Prof. John K. Galbraith, the then Ambassador of USA to India with funding under PL 480 programme of USA under land grant system. At the beginning, the University inherited two colleges viz., the College of Agriculture (the then Utkal Krishi Mahavidyalaya) established in 1954 and College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry (the then Orissa Veterinary College established in 1955) from the Government of Odisha.

The University started with triple function of teaching, research and extension education. The mission was to bring qualitative change in the life of the inhabitants through human resource development, technological advancement and dissemination of technologies related to agriculture and allied activities. The primary objectives of the University are to:

  • Make provision for education of the rural people of the state in agriculture and allied disciplines.

  • Promote advancement of research and learning to generate appropriate technology in various branches of agriculture and allied sciences.

  • Undertake extension education programme in agriculture and allied disciplines.

  • Such other activities as may be required in course of time for the furtherance of the objectives of the University.

Since then, the University has been discharging its triple mandatory functions of producing quality technical professionals, addressing the technological problems in agriculture and allied sciences through quality research and transmitting the technological knowledge for empowerment of the farmers of the State in an integrated manner.

During the first decade of establishment of the University, two more colleges viz., College of Basic Science and Humanities (1964) and the College of Agricultural Engineering and Technology (1966) were added. The Directorate of Research and Directorate of Extension Education started operating in the University since 1968. During this period, a number of Adhoc Research Schemes funded by the ICAR and other funding agencies and All India Coordinated Research Projects of ICAR also operated under the University.

Three more Colleges viz., College of Home Science, Bhubaneswar at Head Quarter; College of Fisheries, Rangailunda of Ganjam district and the second College of Agriculture at Chiplima of Sambalpur district started functioning during the year 1981. Later, a Department of Forestry to offer degree programme in Forestry was established under College of Agriculture, Bhubaneswar. Degree programme in Civil, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering were added under the College of Agricultural Engineering and Technology during 1981-82 academic sessions. In the post green revolution era, it was realized that the diverse climate-soil-crop situation was responsible for inter-district variation in the performance of some of the technological practices. Based on that, the state of Odisha was broadly divided into four Physiographic Zones such as Northern Plateau, Central Table Land, Eastern Ghat Region and Coastal Tract. Keeping in view Regional Research Stations were established one each at Keonjhar, Chiplima, Semiliguda and Bhubaneswar to generate location specific need based technologies on the auspices of Orissa Agriculture Development Project (OADP) with the support of World Bank in the year 1978 under the Directorate of Research. Moreover, 13 Adaptive Research Stations were started operating one in each undivided district of the state to test the adaptability of research findings prior to transfer of the same to farmers' field.

During the year 1985, a College of Engineering and Technology started operating under the University at Bhubaneswar which was subsequently transferred to the newly created Biju Patnaik University of Technology (BPUT) during the year 2003. During the third decade of establishment of the University, the state was divided into 10 Agro-climatic Zones under the National Agriculture Research Project (NARP) in 1983 followed by NARP Phase-II till 1993. NARP Phase - II saw addition of two more research stations at Kirei and Kalimela and one commodity research station on sugarcane at Nayagarh. By the closure of NARP during the year 1995, eight Regional Research Stations and two Sub-stations one each in the 10 Agro-climatic zones of the state continued to function under the state plan. Besides, the University has 7 commodity research stations located across the state. In the year 1982, two Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) were established, one at Semiliguda in the tribal dominated Koraput district and another at Keonjhar district of the state with 100% financial support of the ICAR under the Directorate of Extension Education. A Directorate of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation was created during 1991 at University main office for preparation and development of different plans, collection and compilation of information and evaluation of various activities of the University and development of co-ordination with State Government, ICAR, SAUs, Govt. of India and other organizations.

During the fourth decade of establishment of the University, a Centre for Post Graduate Studies was established at its headquarters in 1998 offering Master degree courses like Bioinformatics, Microbiology (now under College of Basic Science and Humanities) and Master in Computer Application (renamed as Computer Science and Application) on a self finance basis. Subsequently in the year 1998, the Regional Research Stations in the state were renamed as Regional Research and Technology Transfer Stations (RRTTS) and Sub-Stations as Regional Research and Technology Transfer Sub-Stations (RRTTSS) thus expanding their scope for transfer of technologies. With the closure of NARP Phase II, ICAR introduced National Agricultural Technology Project with the idea of refinement of tested technologies. OUAT was a partner in 43 NATP Projects under various modes/ systems introduced in the year 2000 with Directorate of Research. During this period, the number of Krishi Vigyan Kendras increased to 16 to cover more districts of the state under transfer of technology programme at Directorate of Extension Education.

The fifth decade of establishment of the University witnessed dramatic improvements with the addition of a Post Graduate Department in Agri-Business Management which started operating in the year 2007 under Centre for Post Graduate Studies on self-finance scheme. A new College of Horticulture was established in the year 2008 at Chiplima in Sambalpur district, the third College of Agriculture started operating from 2009 at Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi district and the College of Forestry started operating independently at Bhubaneswar from 2010 being upgraded from a Department of Forestry under College of Agriculture, Bhubaneswar. In this period, the number of Krishi Vigyan Kendras increased to 31 (two KVK's in three districts Ganjam, Mayurbhanj and Sambalpur) to cover all the districts under transfer of technology programme. In the year 2010, two Agro-Polytechnics started operating at tribal dominated Boudh and Deogarh with Western Odisha Development Council funding. Moreover, with the effort and support of the Govt. of Odisha, 10 Agro-Polytechnic Centres will start from the academic year 2012-13 spread over 10 Agro-climatic Zones of the State of which 06 are in Agriculture Science, 02 in Horticulture Science and 01 each in Fishery and Animal Science in which Diploma and Certificate courses in respective subjects will be offered to produce Para-professionals in Agriculture and allied sciences.

As on today, the University has 10 constituent colleges and a Centre for Post Graduate Studies to impart education and training on various aspects of Agriculture, Horticulture, Forestry, Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, Agricultural Engineering, Home Science, Fishery Sciences, Basic Sciences, Microbiology, Bio-informatics, Computer Science & Application and Agri-Business Management. The annual student intake capacity is 1787. The education is imparted through 46 U.G., 51 Post-Graduate and 32 Ph.D.  programmes offered by the University. Rural Agricultural Work Experience (RAWE) / In-Plant Training/ Internship form an integral part of Graduation programme in all the disciplines to give first hand exposure to students to real work situations in the farmer's field. Besides, Experiential Learning for students was launched out of ICAR support on “Preparation of value added poultry meat products” in College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, “Production of quality honey and bee colonies through queen rearing techniques”, “off season crop production unit” and “Production and processing of mushrooms” in College of Agriculture, “Post harvest Processing and Value addition” in College of Agricultural Engineering and Technology, Fish Post Harvest Technology and Fresh Water Aqua Culture (Carp Seed Production) at College of Fisheries, Rangailunda, Berhampur. Till date, the University has produced 16,039 graduates, 5,800 Post graduates and 327 Ph.Ds in different disciplines. The University has been accreditated by ICAR up to 2013 among other Agricultural University of the country for its quality of instructions, infrastructure, Human Resource Development (HRD) and contribution to Research and Transfer of Technological knowledge. The College of Forestry is also accreditated by ICAR during the year 2011.

Since its inception many students have been selected for higher studies through JRFs and SRFs and more importantly. This year (i.e. in 2012) 26 number of students got ICAR-JRF comprising from different constituent colleges. So far as job avenues are concerned. Passed-out students are recruited under ARS by ICAR system and rests are absorbed either in State Government service, GOI, Nationalised Banks, Public and /or Private sectors. During last 05 years many of our students have been recruited as Asst. Professor / SMS in OUAT.

The library facilities include a Central Library at University level with internet, e-library, inter library loan, CDROM database, online access facilities and a Book bank.  A band width of 1 Gbps (leased line connectivity) has been brought for OUAT headquarters for strengthening Internet facility for the student and teachers with the support of the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology. In the outlying campuses the same facilities have been provided through ERNET with a band width of 256Kbps. Besides, college libraries, post graduate departmental libraries exist for use of the students and faculty members. The Central Library has already been modernized providing access to more than one lakh e-books and journals through CeRA. The Central Library has 1,59,996 books, 15,745 Journals, 42,880 Technical Reports and 5,287 Theses and is subscribing for data base in the form of CDROM of CAB, VET-CD and J-Gate Agricultural & Biological Sciences, 87 National Journals and 45 International Journals and 30 journals on gratis. The library provides facilities like reading room, inter library loan, test book bank, photo copying, reference service, on line public access etc. In the Book Bank 1260 numbers of books were provided for circulation among students.

The University undertakes fundamental, applied and adaptive research in all the 10 Agro-climatic zones of the state with an objective to generate location specific technologies for higher production and productivity in agriculture and allied sectors. The research activities are carried out in 8 Regional Research and Technology Transfer Stations (RRTTS), 4 Regional Research and Technology Transfer Substations (RRTTSS), 7 Commodity Research Centers and 13 Adaptive Research Stations. In addition to this, 51 numbers of All India Co-ordinated Research Projects and a good number of ad hoc Research Projects are in operation with financial support from ICAR, Govt. of India, State Government and several other public and private sector funding agencies. Three mega research projects namely DBT Rural Bio-Resource Complex in Villages of Puri District of Odisha and Niche Area of Excellence on Management of Acid Soil for Sustainable Crop Production were in operation in the University during preceding years with financial support of DBT and ICAR, respectively. Some of the important highlights of research work carried out under the domain of the University are as follows.

  • The University has so far developed 139 high yielding crop varieties out of which 59 are of rice, 22 are of oilseeds, 15 are of vegetables, 8 are each of pulses and spices and 35 are of other crops. The low land rice culture OR-142-99 has been released in Cambodia in the name Santepheap-3. Variety Rambha has been identified by IRRI as a suitable variety for shallow low lands of Myanmar, Sarathi for Bangladesh, China, Malaysia, Egypt and Vietnam. The recently released rice variety Pratikshya is a good substitute for the ruling variety Swarna. Our protected variety 'Pratikhya' has created demand in neighbouring West Bengal as evidenced by applications received by various seed companies for issue of non exclusive license. Rice variety Lalat is widely adopted in the state both during kharif and summer seasons.
  • The rice varieties Varshadhan (4.4 t/ha) and Swarna Sub -1 (3.9 t/ha) yielded 26 and 11 % more over Swarna and sustained submergence and flash flood, respectively proving ideal substitute for Swarna in low land rice.
  • In the recent past, the University developed Sugarcane varieties such as Sabita and Neelamadhab, Groundnut variety (JAL 42) and Paddy varieties such as Mrunalini, Tejaswini and Mandakini and a new capsularis Jute variety Shresthaa (KJC 7).
  • During the year 2011-12, eleven crop varieties (Rice-4, Blackgram-1, Sugarcane-2, Mesta-1, Sesame-2 and Toria-1) were released by the University. The rice variety “Tanmayee” is of 145 days duration with an average yield of 5.2 t/ha (Potential  yield - 9.8 t/ha), “Hiranmayee” is of 135 days duration with an average yield of 5.5 t/ha (Potential  yield  12.5 t/ha), “Jyotirmayee” is of 95 days duration with an average yield of 4.4 t/ha (Potential  yield  8.1 t/ha) and scented rice “Nua Acharmati” is of 134 days duration with an average yield of 4.2 t/ha (Potential  yield  8.1 t/ha). The blackgram variety “Mahuri (OBG 31)” is of 65 days duration with an average yield of 9 q/ha (Potential yield  12 q/ha).The sugarcane variety “Neelachakra” is of 300 days duration with an average yield of 108 t/ha (Sucrose content 14.8 to 17.8 %) and “Raghunath” is of 360 days duration with an average yield of 126 t/ha (Sucrose content 16.2 to 17.7 %), both tolerant to water logging and moisture stress. The mesta variety “Shanti” (JBM 71) is of 140 days (Fibre purpose) and 240 days (Seed purpose) duration with an average fibre yield of 27.5 q/ha (Potential  yield -32.0 q/ha). The sesame variety “Smarak” is of 75 days duration with an average yield of 12.0 q/ha having 52 % oil content and golden yellow bold seed and “Subhra” is of 75 days duration with an average yield of 13.0 q/ha having 53 % oil content and bright white bold seed. The toria variety (Sushree) ORT (M)7-2 which is a selection from mutagen of TS-29 has an average yield of 13.8 q/ha (Potential  yield -14.8 q/ha) having 42.1 % oil content.
  • The University has developed two export quality varieties of cashew viz., 'Jagannath' and 'Balabhadra'.
  • Three ginger (Surabhi, Suruchi, Suprabha) and four turmeric (Roma, Surama, Rashmi, Ranga) varieties having export quality have been released.
  • Tomato varieties (Utkal Pallavi, Utkal Dipti, Utkal Kumari, Utkal Urbasi) and brinjal varieties (Utkal Kesari, Utkal Madhuri, Utkal Tarini, Utkal Anushree) released by the University have been widely accepted and adopted by the farming community of the State.
  • A major reason of low crop productivity in Odisha is acidic soils (70%). Research under Niche Area of Excellence on Management of Acid Soils for Sustainable Crop Production revealed that application of paper mill sludge @ 10-30% of lime requirement increased yield of arhar, groundnut, maize, ragi and mustard by 20-150 % over farmers practice.
  • Integrated Nutrient Management for individual crops and cropping systems has been developed. Integrated Pest Management modules for rice, sugarcane, brinjal, cole crops, mustard and cotton have been developed.
  • The pond based Integrated Farming System comprising 3.2 ha (1.3 ha crop + 1.5 ha pond + fruits & agroforestry) at Kendrapara yielded a net return of Rs.3,37,250/- with a BCR of 2.58.
  • The rice-tomato-cowpea cropping system is the most remunerative one at Bhubaneswar condition having a rice equivalent yield (REY) of 18.61 t/ha/yr giving a net monetary return of Rs.1,05,875/- per ha/yr with BCR of 2.27 and Rice-groundnut- bottle gourd is the most remunerative one at Chiplima condition having a REY of 16.50 t/ha/yr giving a net monetary return of Rs.98,779/- per ha/yr with BCR of 2.41.
  • Organic packages for turmeric and ginger cultivation have been standardized.
  • The GPS and GIS based soil fertility maps of 5 districts of Odisha has been prepared for 577 villages comprising 51 blocks.
  • A multi coloured broiler poultry bird 'Palliraja' has been developed by the University.
  • Supplementation of a low cost mineral mixture developed at the Mid-Central Table Land Zone of Odisha @ 50 g/day to cattle improved general health and reproductive performance.
  • OUAT has published monographs on 'Ganjam Goat', 'Motu cattle' and 'Binjharpuri cattle' containing local breed descriptions. A video documentation on characterization of 'Chilika buffalo' has also been made. Four cattle breeds (Binjharpuri, Motu, Ghumusari, Khariar) and 2 buffalo breeds (Chilika, Kalahandi) have been already registered and GI application has been filed for Ganjam Goat Ghee and Chilika buffalo curd.
  • The University has also fabricated user friendly, drudgery reducing, cost and time saving farm implements like paddy thresher, groundnut decorticator, low volume sprayer, OUAT puddler, a zero energy cool chamber for storage of fruits and vegetables, OUAT Yoke, OUAT MB Plough, power weeder for transplanted low land rice, zero till drill for greengram in rice-fallow, multi crop planter for various crops in the field, paddy transplanter and a Seed extractor for Solanaceous vegetables.
  • The University has developed value added products like ready-to-serve squash, jam and toffees from tropical fruits including bael and Mahua flower; clarified gel from Aloe vera; oleoresin extract from ginger, ginger honey, beverages and dried ginger products and osmo-dehydrated slices form pineapple and carrot etc.
  • Production of bio-diesel was achieved from Mahua, Karanja and Jatropha in the laboratory.
  • Expertise in breeding rice, oilseeds, vegetable, spices, plantation crops and poultry, Agro-meteorology, development of prototypes of farm implements, value addition, agricultural bio-technology, apiculture, mushroom culture, animal health management, cropping system research, and dry land agriculture etc. are available.
  • Novel designs of ethnic textiles of Dhalapathara area of Odisha have been developed.

            A Central laboratory with the State of the Art instrumentation facilities was established at University level. Model Classrooms have been designed in constituent colleges. Laboratories of all Departments of all the faculties, Examination halls of all Colleges, Conference halls of University, Livestock Instructional Farm and Central Clinic were renovated and modernized with support of ICAR. A new central clinic is constructed for 24 hrs treatment of all types of animals with the funding of State Govt. in college of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry.

Production and distribution of quality seeds/planting materials are considered as the first step of technology transfer. University farms produce adequate quantity of breeder (400 to 800 quintals), foundation (8000-10,000 quintals) and certified (2000 to 3000 quintals) seeds of paddy every year. Production of quality seeds/planting materials of ginger, turmeric, vegetables, pulses and oilseed crops, fibre crops, fruits and ornamentals in different research stations and KVKs is one of the important and regular activities of the University. A Biotechnology-cum-Commercial Tissue Culture Centre is producing quality planting materials of banana, sugarcane and gerbera through tissue culture. The Centre has the capacity of producing 10 lakh plantlets per year for supply to Govt. agencies, private entrepreneurs and farmers.

The University has established an Intellectual Property Right Cell during the year 2007 to safeguard the innovations made by the University. Out of 23 applications so far filed by the University with the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmer's Right (PPV& FR) Authority, till date 18 Crop varieties are registered, 3 rice varieties are commercialized (Pratikshya, Lalitagiri, Gajapati) and application filed for 3 Patents. Similarly, 4 cattle breeds (Binjharpuri, Motu, Ghumusari, Khariar) and 2 buffalo breeds (Chilika, Kalahandi) have been already registered and GI application has been filed for Ganjam Goat Ghee and Chilika buffalo curd.

The Directorate of Extension Education not only refines technologies and disseminates knowledge to farming community through a network of KVKs in various agro-climatic zones, but also provides feed back to the research system for finding solution to the farmer's problems. It operates in the principle of teaching by doing and learning by doing and enables farmers to acquire up-to-date skills to boost up production in farming sector. Transfer of knowledge programmes are carried out through 31 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK) situated in different districts of the state, University Extension Block Programme (UEBP), Information and Communication wing, Distance Education, Video Project, Agricultural Technology Information Centre (ATIC), Kissan Call Centre (KCC) and Orissa Gender Resources Centre (OGRC). Some of the highlights of Extension Education work achieved by the University are

  • The University organizes in-service training programmes for capacity building of different categories of officers and field functionaries of agriculture and allied departments and NGOs through Krishi Vigyan Kendras and Directorate of Extension Education. The University conducts long and short duration vocational trainings for farmers, farm women, rural youths and school dropouts through different Krishi Vigyan Kendras. Farmer's-scientist interaction programmes are very often organized to address the problems of farmers' related to agricultural and allied sciences.
  • Extension scientists of the University refine the latest agricultural technologies through On-Farm Testing. The University organizes large scale Front Line Demonstrations on agriculture and related aspects for quick spread of latest technologies.
  • The transfer of knowledge on technologies like planting material propagation, floriculture, vermi-composting, organic farming, composite pisciculture, tissue culture banana cultivation, broiler poultry rearing, mushroom cultivation, bee keeping, pearl culture, fabric printing, nutritional gardening, reduction of drudgery on farm women etc. are being undertaken through different KVKs. Popularization of bee keeping has paid dividends. Bee keeping has helped increase in production of crops through pollination. Besides, honey production in the state by 2011 has gone up to 200 t/year. In the past, University facilitated for development of about 93 spawn production and 35,000 mushroom production units in the state.
  • Publication of different farm literature, bimonthly Odia magazines, KVK newsletter and popular articles is a regular activity of the Extension Directorate of the University. Farmers' questions are answered regularly through toll free Kissan Call Centre, local news papers, radio and TV programmes, personal communication, etc.
  • Single window delivery system for supply of agricultural inputs, technology and information to farmers has been developed through Agricultural Technology Information Centre (ATIC). The farmers are being immensely benefited through ATIC.
  • University Extension Block Programme operating in Puri and Khurda districts carries out field validation of new technologies, farm advisory services, identification and documentation of field problems and conduct of Rural Agricultural Work Experience (RAWE) for students.
  • Distance Education Programme is being carried out in the University through enrolment of farmers (16,090) in ten different major areas viz. Paddy cultivation, Vegetable cultivation, Fruits cultivation, Betelvine cultivation, Groundnut cultivation, Pisciculture, Dairy farming, Honey bee keeping, Poultry rearing and Mushroom cultivation.
  • OUAT is the 1st in the country to launch Agro-met website since 2001 with regular updating of both weather and advisory service in English and Odia languages. Agromet Advisory Service, Ranital has the distinction of becoming the first Agro-met Field Unit in India for sending weather SMS to farmers, Govt. Departments, District Administration. India Meteorology Department (IMD) has accepted this as a model for the entire country. The Kissan Mobile Advisory Service (KMAS) operating in the different KVKs have sent 2502 number of messages through their scientists giving important tips on agriculture and have benefited 21153 farmers of the state during the year 2011-12.
  • University is also implementing the 'Gyanalok' project which has been conceived by His Excellency, the Hon'ble Governor of Odisha to improve literacy rate of tribal girls. The programme is implemented in 10 villages, two each in the districts namely, Nuapada, Kalahandi and Kandhamal and four in Khurda district through the respective KVKs of the University. The NSS unit of the University has taken up the same programme in the Kargil Basti of Bhubaneswar. Within 3 years of implementation of the project, the dropout percentage of school going children has been drastically reduced to zero in the adopted villages.
  • A Central Educational Museum has been established at the headquarters with the financial support of ICAR as show-case of recommended technologies of agriculture and allied sciences for the benefit of farming community.

There are 23 hostels in the University to accommodate 1800 students, 17 of which are in the headquarters and 6 in outlying campuses (College of Fisheries, Rangailunda, College of Agriculture and Horticulture, Chiplima and College of Agriculture, Bhawanipatna). Out of these, 9 hostels are meant for girl students. One international hostel became operative from the current year (2012) for accommodating foreign students at Bhubaneswar. Hostels are provided with TV, Indoor game facilities, News paper, Magazines, Drinking water through Aquaguards etc. Recently, Internet facilities have been extended to the hostels for educational purpose. A Multi Gymnasium is newly constructed for health care of the students and staff of the University. Facilities for games and sports, cultural activities, extracurricular activities like NSS, NCC, regular Yoga classes and Scholarships are available for the students. The University Employment Information and Guidance Bureau provide information on emerging opportunities for higher studies and employment to students and guide them.  A bimonthly bulletin “Career Forum” is published regularly by University Employment Information and Guidance Bureau for the benefit of the student community.

University health centre has been upgraded which provides an excellent healthcare facilities to all the students and staff through the services of Homoeopathic and Allopathic doctors and a Physiotherapist. A Students' Museum was established in the year under report in which achievements of students in cultural and sports activities within and outside the state has been displayed.

Our students excel not only academically but also in extracurricular activities. The cultural contingent of OUAT bagged champion's trophy for 3 consecutive years (2005-06,  2006-07 & 2007-08) and during 2009-10 at the All India Inter State Agricultural University Youth Festival (AGRIUNIFEST) which focuses on the rich cultural heritage of our students and their mentors. In 2010-11 AGRIUNIFEST a number of medals were won by the cultural contingent of OUAT.

The OUAT under the dynamic leadership of the Vice Chancellor has been adjudged best among all the Universities of the state in 2010 for the outstanding contribution in education, research and extension education for the overall agricultural development of the state by “The Times of India Group” and has been felicitated by Hon'ble Chief Minister of Odisha. The All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) for Dryland Agriculture unit of the University received “Choudhury Devi Lal outstanding AICRP award-2009”.

Although, the University achieved most of its goals during the last five decades but, there is a long way to go for addressing the need of the students, staff, scientists, farmers and other stakeholders directly or indirectly involved in the field of agriculture and allied sciences for the overall development of agriculture in our state in particular and nation in general.

 

PRODUCTIVITY OF AGRICULTURE IN ODISHA - CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES IN LEVERAGING TECHNOLOGY

DR. I. C. MAHAPATRA

Former Vice Chancellor

BAU, Ranchi & OUAT, Bhubaneswar

1.         INTRODUCTION: In the 21st Century, Agricultural Sector would continue to be the fundamental instrument to sustain development and reduce poverty significantly. Unlike other sectors of development, agriculture is multifaceted and of paramount importance with regard to the State of Odisha.

                        Odisha's economy has remained mainly agrarian, dominated by agriculture and allied sub-sectors that contributed more than 70 percent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) in the 1950s. The State economy has been diversifying at a slow pace. As per “Quick Estimates”, this sector, which includes agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries and forestry, contributed 18.44 percent of GSDP as against 14.60 percent at national level in 2009-10. However, this sector provides employment and sustenance, directly or indirectly, to more than 60 percent to the State's total work-force. In this sense, the agriculture sector is still the “mainstay” of Odisha economy. It is, therefore, important to understand structural changes in the growth patterns of the sector so that appropriate strategies may be devised to divert a substantial proportion of the agricultural workforce from farm to non-farm sectors and in turn help the economy to grow at faster and higher rates.

1.1       Climate: The State has tropical Climate, characterized by high temperature, high humidity, medium to high rainfall and short and mild winters. The normal rainfall in the State is 1451.2m. Actual rainfall received vary from district to district. About 84% of the rainfall is received during the period from June to September. Even though, the quantum of rainfall is high the distribution during the monsoon period is highly uneven and erratic due to frequent occurrence of natural calamities like drought, flood, cyclone; there is always reduction in the yield of Kharif rice the major crop of the state. In drought years, there is considerable loss in production of pulses & oil seeds both during kharif & rabi seasons.

                        This sector suffers from frequent natural hazards like cyclones, droughts and flash floods. As a result of this, its annual growth varies widely. Despite wide annual variations in its growth, the agriculture sector has grown, in real terms at 2004-05 prices, at a rate of 4.80 percent per annum in the first three years of the 11th Five Year Plan.

                        Odisha has irrigation potential of 36.5% of the net area sown. Hence 63.5% of the cultivated area is rainfed. Due to erratic behavior of monsoon, drought occurs at different stages of crop growth. In some years as experienced in the year 2011, drought and flood occurred in the same kharif season. Hence the crop production prospects are most uncertain

1.2       Land use patterns in Odisha: Land cannot be expanded endlessly. As multiple demands for land increase, less land is devoted to agriculture and allied sub-sectors. Therefore, intensive cultivation of available cultivable lands, wherever feasible, seems a viable strategy for increasing the gross area under cultivation and augmenting food production. These trends are discernible in Odisha as well. There has been a decline in the net sown area in the State. The total net sown area (NSA) in Odisha that was 5,829 thousand hectares (ha) in 2000-01 declined to 5,574 thousand ha in 2009-10. In contrast, the area sown more than once (ASMO) has increased over this period.

                        The area under food-grains has declined from 5,428 thousand ha in 2008-09 to 5,406 thousand ha in 2009-10 in Odisha. The area under rice constitutes more than 70 percent of the total cultivated area and has declined from 4,434 thousand ha in 2000-01 to 4,365 thousand ha in 2009-10. Out of the total area under foodgrains, the area under cereals has declined and that under pulses has increased. Areas under oilseeds, fibres and other crops are comparatively less.

1.3       Production of major crops: The production of food-grains depends, amongst other factors, upon rainfall and its temporal and spatial distribution and rainfall varies over time. However, food-grain production in Odisha has shown a spectacular increasing trend since 2002-03 with some year to year variations. In 2009-10, the production of food-grains was 7,551 thousand metric tons (TMT). There was an increase of 2.08 percent in 2009-10 over 2008-09. Paddy production increased from 6,813 TMT in 2008-09 to 6,917 TMT in 2009-10, which is about 90 percent of total production of food grains.

                        The production of oilseeds marginally declined from 152 TMT in 2008-09 to 150 TMT in 2009-10. The production of groundnuts and castor has declined and that of linseed and sesamum increased in recent years. The area under cultivation of fibres increased from 89 thousand ha in 2008-09 to 106 thousand ha in 2009-10. The production of fibers decreased from 288 TMT in 2008-09 to 275 TMT in 2009-10. Cotton, jute and mesta are main fibre crops in Odisha. The production cotton and jute increased in 2009-10 to 147 and 6 TMT respectively compared to 146 and 4 TMT in 2008-09. Cotton is a major commercial crop in KBK district in the kharif season. The area under cultivation, and production, of cotton has witnessed an increasing trend. Other crops include potato and sugarcane. Potato cultivation is gaining acceptance in the coastal belt. Farmers are encouraged to use certified potato seeds and other improved planting materials. Sugarcane is cultivated mainly in Cuttack, Sambalpur, Bolangir, Kalahandi and Puri districts. The main constraints in cultivating sugarcane include lack of marketing facilities and the problem of pests.

1.4       Productivity of major crops: The yield rate of food-grains in Odisha is below the average yield rates in major states and at an all India level. There is, therefore, need for greater efforts and appropriate policy interventions to increase the productivity of major crops.

                        The average yield rate of paddy increased in 2009-10 to 15.85 quintal per ha as compared to 15.29 quintal per ha in 2008-09. The yield rate for groundnuts has marginally increased to 11.69 quintals per ha in 2009-10. The yield rates of jute, cotton, sugarcane and potato also increased in recent years.

1.5       Cropping Intensity: There are mainly two ways to meet the increasing demand for food and other farm products. One way is to expand the net area under cultivation and the second is to intensify cropping over the existing area. The net sown area of the country has reached a point where it is not possible to make any appreciable increase. Thus, raising the cropping intensity seems a more viable strategy to increase production of farm products and farmers' incomes. Cropping intensity refers to raising a number of crops from the same field during one agricultural year. Higher cropping intensity means more than one crop from the same area in an agricultural year. Cropping intensity in Punjab, Haryana and West Bengal is highest in the country. The cropping intensity in Odisha has, however, also increased from 135 percent in 2000-01to 163 percent in 2009-10. The district-wise analysis shows that the cropping intensity is generally higher in coastal districts than other districts.

1.6       Area under HYV Rice: There has been an increase in area brought under cultivation of HYV rice in Odisha. About 79 percent of the total area under rice is under cultivation of HYV in 2009-10 as compared to 76 percent in 2008-09.

1.7       Horticultural crops: The agro-climatic conditions of Odisha are favorable for the production of different types of vegetables, fruits and spices. The KBK districts, Gajapati, Kandhamal, Keonjhar and other districts are conducive to intensive horticultural activity. Among long duration fruits, mango, coconut, cashew nut, sapota, jackfruit, orange, lime and litchi are most favourable in Odisha. The area under cultivation of fruits was 354.56 thousand ha and production of different fruits including mango and coconut was 1,873 TMT and 31.19 lakh nuts of coconut in 2009-10.

                        Odisha ranked fourth in terms of production of vegetables in 2009-10. The total production of vegetables was 8,937 TMT in 2009-10 compared to 8,437 TMT in 2008-09. The per capita consumption of vegetables in Odisha has been increasing. Odisha contributed about 4 percent of spice production in India in 2009-10. There was a significant increase in the production of spices to 713.60 MT in 2009-10 as compared to 482.98 MT in 2008-09. The production of ginger and turmeric has increased significantly. The total area under spices covers around 1.98 percent of the total gross cropped area in the State. Odisha contributed about 3 percent of total flower production in the country. Rose, gladioli, marigold and tuberose are the main flowers grown in Odisha. The trend shows that the area and production of these crops has been increasing over the period.

1.8       Agricultural Inputs: Improvements in farm yield depend upon a set of factors like technology, utilization of quality seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation. Each of these factors plays an important role in augmenting production of farm crops and crop productivity. Quality seeds are considered a critical input for improving agricultural yields and yield rates.

                        Seed replacement ratio in Odisha is very low. It implies traditional cultivation practices in which farmers rely on farm-saved seeds. Only 6.64 lakh quintals of certified seeds were available in Odisha in 2009-10.

                        Irrigation is also crucially important for enhancing agricultural productivity and is required at different critical stages of plant growth of various crops for their optimum production. Irrigation development not only correlates to agriculture but also to other socio-economic aspects like industry, navigation, hydropower, pisiculture and water supply. Irrigation intensity in the State was only 31 percent in 2006-07 in comparison to the all India average of 44 percent. Punjab has the highest irrigation intensity of 98 percent. However, the situation is this regard has been gradually improving in Odisha. With a view to assuring more irrigation facilities as quickly as possible, the State Government launched in 2009-10 two innovative irrigation schemes, i.e., (i) construction of check dams and (ii) installation of bore wells at massive scales. Rice crop uses the major share, i.e. 62 percent, of total irrigated area.

                        Chemical fertilizers play a significant role in the development of the agricultural sector. Though there has been considerable improvement in the use of fertilizers and other inputs, the rate of fertilizer use in the State still remains lower than the national average. The use of fertilizers in the State has increased from 26.51 kg/ha in 1995-96 to 60 kg/ha in 2009-10. This suggests a phenomenal increase of almost 130 percent over 15 years. Nevertheless, the present level of fertilizer use in Odisha is almost half of that observed at the all India level (128.6 kg/ha in 2008-09). The use of fertilizers differs widely across districts. The high consuming districts include Baragarh, Balasore, Ganjam, Kalahandi and Bhadrak and low consuming districts are Kandhamal, Deogarh and Gajapati. Total consumption of pesticides in Odisha increased to 2.29 TMT in 2009-10 as compared to 1.16 TMT in 2008-09. On the other hand, per ha consumption of pesticide has declined in 2009-10 to 140.06 gm/ha from 149.10 gm/ha in 2008-09.

1.9       Land holding patterns are an important determinant of the production structure and socio-economic conditions in a society. Operational land holdings are classified as marginal, small, semi-medium, medium and large land holdings depending upon the area controlled in a single land holding. Distribution of operational holdings in 2005-06 indicates that their total number has been increasing over the years but the area under holdings has been declining.

1.10     Agrl. Credit is also a critical non-land input and has two-dimensions from the viewpoint of its contribution to the augmentation of agricultural growth. First is the availability of credit and the second, distribution of credit. In all, agricultural loans to the extent of Rs5,363 crore were advanced during 2009-10. This was significantly higher than the loans of Rs.3,450 crore in 2008-09.

1.11     Farm Machinery at subsidized rates to farmers helps to improve farm mechanization and raise farm productivity. Farm machineries supplied in the State during 2009-10 include tractors, power tillers, self propelled reapers, power threshers, pump sets etc. In this year Rs.81.64 crore was spent by the State to subsidise farm equipments.

1.12     Policies & Institutional Supports for Development of Agriculture in Odisha:

  •             Agricultural policy 2008.
  •             Macromanagement of Agriculture
  •             Integrated schemes of oilseeds, pulses, oilpalm and maize (ISOPOM)
  •             Intensive cotton development programme (ICDP)
  •             National project on Organic Farming
  •             Farm Mechanization
  •             Agrl. promotion and Investment Corporation Ltd (APICOL)
  •             Odisha Agro Industries Corporation
  •             Odisha Integrated Irrigated Agriculture & Water Management Project
  •             Command Area Development Programme.
  •             Micro-irrigation Programme
  •             Water shed Mission
  •             NWDPRA (National Watershed Development Projects for Rainfed Area)
  •             DPAP (Drought Prone Area Programme)
  •             River Valley Project (RVP)
  •             National Horticulture Mission (NHM)
  •             National Food Security Mission (NFSM)
  •             Agricultural Marketing (Krushak Bazar)

1.13     Animal Husbandry:  Animal husbandry is an important source of livelihood for people. In the periods of distress, livestock works as an insurance. Around 80 percent of rural households depend on livestock and draw about 30 percent of their annual incomes or sustenance from livestock in Odisha. About 85 percent of livestock are owned by the landless, marginal and small landholding families.

            Odisha contributed about 4.82 percent population of livestock in the country compared to 12.06 percent in Utter Pradesh, 10.13 percent in Rajasthan and 8.58 percent West Bengal.

            According to the Quick Round Report of the 18th Livestock Census, 2007, the total livestock population in Odisha stood at 230.57 lakh including 123.09 lakh cattle. The State also returned 205.96 lakh poultry. Out of the total poultry, 70 percent are local backyard breeds.

1.14     Production and Availability of Milk, Eggs and Meat in Odisha:        

            Odisha contributes about 2 percent to total production of milk in India. The egg production is about 3 percent of all India production. The production of milk increased from 1,598 TMT in 2008-09 to 1,651 TMT in 2009-10. The production of eggs increased from 1,993 million in 2008-09 to 2,319 million in 2009-10. Per capita availability of milk, eggs and meat in Odisha from 2000-01 to 2009-10 and suggests that per capita consumption of milk, eggs and meat is increasing over time.

2.0       SECOND GENERATION PROBLEMS OF GREEN REVOLUTION:

  •             Global climatic change
  •             Stagnant yields of crops
  •             Declining factor productivity
  •             Increased use of chemical fertilizers and resultant pollution hazards
  •             Deterioration of soil health
  •             Emergence of multiple nutrient deficiencies
  •             Lowering of the ground water table
  •             Diminishing & Deterioration of land and water resources
  •             Weeds and their resistance to commonly used herbicides
  •             Deterioration of quality of produce
  •             Al &Mn toxicity in uplands
  •             Fe toxicity in low lands
  •             Improper water management
  •             Increase in areas of salinity & acidity
  •             Threatened loss of Biodiversity
  •             Natural Resource Degradation
  •             Issues relating to intellectual property right
  •             Burgeoning population

3.0       PRODUCTION CONSTRAINTS:

  •   Socio Economic Constraints:

                                    o          47% people below poverty line

                                    o          44% of people belong to SC/ST

                                    o          More than 80% holdings belong to small & marginal farmers

                                    o          Fragmented holdings

                                    o          Lack of consolidation of holding

                                    o          Defective land tenure system

                                    o          Lack of rural Infrastructure

                                    o          Inadequable credit support system

                                    o          Undependable supply of electricity

                                    o          Lack of improved input delivery system

                                    o          Distress sale of agrl. produce

                                       o       Non-existence of cold storage facilities for perishable agricultural products

                                    o          Lack of support for Agro-Processing

  •  Biophysical Constraints-Water related

                                    o          Erratic rainfall

                                    o          Low percentage of irrigation area

                                    o          Waterlogged & flooded areas (0.85 lakh/ha) 

                                    o          More than 60% of cultivated area is rain dependent

                                    o          Lack of conservation of natural resources

                                    o          Lack of water harvesting structures to store rain water

                                    o          Non-Adoption of dry farming technology

                                    o          Non-Completion of minor / medium irrigation projects in time

                                    o          Absence of field channels in irrigated areas

                                    o          Siltation of reservoirs within command areas

                                    o          Lack of repair and renovation of water bodies

                                    o          Organic manure and inorganic fertilizers

                                    o          Integrated plant Nutrient Management Systems

  • Technological Constraints

                                    o          Depletion of soil organic matters

                                    o          Non adoption of recommended crops & varieties

                                    o          Non adoption of crop rotation

                                    o          Continuous cultivation of rice

                                    o          Near absence of plant protection

                                    o          Improper crop management

                                    o          Low plant population

                                    o          Delayed planting/seeding

                                    o          Physiological and nutritional disorders

                                    o          Improper soil & water management practices

  •          Institutional Constraints (Supply & services):

o Non availability of certified quality seeds and planting materials of various crops

                                     o Low seed replacement rates

                                    o Continuous cultivation of same genetic material over the years has eroded the genetic potential of crops & varieties

                                       o Non-availability of Fertilizer in time

                                        o Non-existence of Agro-service Centers, Agro-Clinics & Agro-Business     Centers

  • Administrative Constraints (Break down of Agrl. Extension Services for Transfer of Technology):

 

4.0       TECHNOLOGICAL OPTIONS:

                                    In the Green Revolation era (1967-87) mostly the seed centered technology was adopted in endowed areas & by better off farmers. The risk prone rainfed areas were by and large neglected. Lack of break through in Genetic Improvement of crop varieties in the past decades has not recorded quantum jump in productivity. Hence there is necessity for Management Centered Technology in India & in Odisha. These include

5.1       Some potential effects of the climate change on agriculture of the State of Odisha are summarized as follows:

                      Reduced yields of crops due to warm days and nights.

                      Decreased grain yield of rice (9%) by 2020 due to accelerated senescence and higher chaffyness.

          Less elongation of rice grain and lower quality of rice due to warm nights during post flowering period (October).

                      Direct sown rice at more risk due to extended summer and less rainfall in June.

                      Substantial yield losses in winter crops. For example, 0.5ºC rise in winter temperature would reduce wheat yield by 0.45 t/ha.

          More crop loss, waterlogging and difficulty in cultivation due to more heavy rainfall    events.

                      More crop loss and land degradation due to increased drought occurrence.

                      Long-term loss of soil carbon stocks.

                      Increased crop water requirement due to accelerated evapotranspiration.

                      Decreased use efficiency of nitrogenous fertilizers.

                      Higher pest incidence such as increasing infestation of rice swarming caterpillar, hispa, stem borer and bacterial leaf blight.

          Loss of cultivated land by inundation and coastal erosion in low-laying coastal areas.

                      Increased salinisation of the coastal areas, particularly Mahanadi delta.

                                    Productivity of most cereals would decrease due to increase in temperature and water scarcity. Greater loss would occur in rabi. If temperature increases by 2.5 to 4.9ºC, rice yield would decrease by 15 to 42 percent (without carbon fertilization effect). Moreover, attempt to increase the current low rice yield of the state from 1.9 t/ha to 3.0 t/ha by 2020 to meet the demand, more fertilizer has to be used only with a reduced use efficiency, and more significantly, with greater GHG emissions.

                      Impact Of Climate Change On Food Security:

o          Net availability of food at any given time depends on number of local, national and international factors.

o          CO2 and temperature can influence food availability through their direct effect on growth processes and yield of crops.

o          Soil organic matter transformations, soil erosion and changes in pest profiles associated with global warming may further impact crop production.

o          Socio-economic environment (Govt. Policies, capital availability, prices & returns, infrastructure, land reforms, inter and international trade) may be affected by climatic change.

o          Projected increase of global mean temperature between 1.4 and 5.80 C by 2100 IPCC 2007 is expected to have radical impacts on hydrological system, sea level, ecosystem and crop production.

5.2       DROUGHT MITIGATION OPTIONS IN DROUGHT PRONE AREAS:

                        Since 77% of the Odisha's geographical area come under plateau region, the area is drought prone. Study revealed that even in drought affected years, Odisha receives not less than 900 mm of rainfall. The following are the drought mitigation options; Crop diversification in uplands, Dry land Horticulture, Agro-forestry in drought prone areas, Rain water harvesting and management, Agro Techniques, Acid soil amelioration measures, Off season ploughung, In situ moisture conservation, Early seeding & early weeding, Basal application of manures & phosphatic fertilizers, Seed rate, seeding methods & spacing, Mixed cropping, Appropriate crops / varieties / cropping system, maize, Groundnut, pigeon pea, Black Gram, Green Gram, Horse Gram and Sesamam, Nutrient Management, Plant protection measures, Control of soil Erosion, Agronomic measures, Contour Farming, Cover cropping, Inter cropping, Conservation tillage, Soil mulching, Dead furrows, Shallow trenching, Alternate land use system, Contigent crop planning, Integrated Farming System in upland, Engineering Measures, Field bunding, Bench terracing, Farm ponds, Embankment type ponds, Drought type ponds, Community ponds, Small rock check dams.

          Package of practices are available for dryfarming/rainfed agriculture. These technologies should be sincerely extended to the actual farm situation depending upon resources of the farmers and commitment of extension worker.

       Technology includes moisture conservation through reduction of evaporation, (early maturing crops, minimum land preparation, mixed/intercrops, mulching and weed free fields), reduction of run off and increase in infiltration (countour bunds in light soils with less rainfall, graded bunds in high rainfall zone, division of land into compartments, ploughing and planting across slopes, incorporation of crop residues and organic manures and provision of dead furrows), sowing in flat beds and ridging later, rain water harvesting through percolation tanks, farm ponds, wells, stop dams and broad bed and furrow system.

            Suitable soil management practices should be adopted. These include control of water erosion through agronomic and engineering measures, proper tillage, integrated plant nutrient supply and soil amendments.

           Appropriate crop management practices should include efficient crops and varieties, efficient cropping system, early seeding, optimum plant population, basal application of P & K, early weeding, top dressing of N, INM and IPM.

                If the growing season is between 20-30 weeks; intercropping is recommended. Double cropping can be practiced if the growing season is above 30 weeks.

Integrated Water Shed Management Programme (IWDP):

The following reasons / factors have been responsible for the under performance / set back of Integrated Water Shed Management Programme.

  • Technology bias on bio-physical issues  lack of appreciation of farmers' conditions, their priorities & resources
  • Top down extension strategy and weak institution & capacity building
  • Lack of On Farm Adaptive (participatory) Research for technology development in rain water harvesting and water shed management
  • Greater reliance on crops  lack of appreciation of farming system perspective and production system diversification and livelihood activities for land less and asset less farmers
  • Inadequate rural infrastructure  roads, markets
  • Poor management of developed water resources for productive purpose
  • Credit facilities
  • Crop Insurance
  • Fragmented holdings  

5.3       SOIL HEALTH & SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE:

                        Soil is the universal medium of crop, Livestock, Fish and Forestry Growth. It is a natural resource whose degradation needs to be arrested at all costs. Soil Health related technologies are; Soil and water conservation measures, Water shed management in hilly areas, Acid soil Management, Saline soil management, Management of waterlogged soils, Uplands soil management, Medium land soil management, Low land soil management, Soil Health & Soil Testing, Soil Health Pass Book.

            Manure / Fertilizer related technology:

                        Fertilizer Recommendations based on Soil Test Values, Source, Level, Time application, Method of Application, Neem coated urea, Slow release N fertilizers, Vermi Compost, Organic farming, Green Manure / FYM / Compost, Direct, residual & cumulative effects of manures & fertilizers on crops & cropping systems.

            Soil Management:

                        Most soils of Odisha, barring black soils and some alluvial soils, are acidic in nature, low in bases, quite deficient in organic matter and phosphorous and low to medium in available potassium.

                        The upland soils have problems of acidity and aluminium toxicity, low moisture retentively. Lowland soils adjacent to the sloppy laterites are iron toxic and coastal soils are saline.

                        Rice has certain amount of tolerance to soil acidity and flooding of the field also creates favourable conditions (increases in p H and availability of P, Si and K) for rice crop. Probably these are the reasons for rice to give poor response to liming in most of the fields trails.

                        Liming is most desirable for raising the productivity of several crops as observed through series of field experiments conducted in various parts of Acid soil Region  (ASR). This has helped to make acid sensitive crops like cotton, soybean, groundnut, French bean, pigeonpea, etc., better adaptable to acid soils. Crops have been classified according to their relative response to liming. Under the rainfed conditions highly responsive crops like cotton, soybean, pigeonpea etc may be grown in the first year of liming followed by medium responsive crops like maize, wheat, gram, in the next year or next season. The low responsive crops like millets, rice, barley, linseed, etc., may be grown when the effect of liming may have been further reduced. Cost of liming may be minimized by use of industrial wastes.

            Iron Toxicity:

                        Iron toxicity is a phenomenon of red laterite acid soils under anaerobie flooded situation. Iron toxicity also occurs above pH 6.5. Iron toxicity drastically reduces rice yield. Control measures for Iron toxicity includes (i) Provision of deep drains around the fields, (ii) checking the lateral seepage of water carrying soluble Fe +2 by construction of check embankments across the slopes and diverting the soluble Fe²+ through diversion weires, (iii) Liming of the soil with appropriate lime dosage and application of liberal doses of potassium. The iron toxic resistant rice varieties are 'Mashuri', 'Rajeswari', 'Falguni', 'Samalei', 'IR36' and 'Parijat'.

            Fertilizer use:

                        Among all the factors of production fertilizer is the king pin. If judicious use of fertilizers to all the crops is undertaken, there will be significant increase in crop yields. It is, therefore, absolutely essential that fertilizer must be applied judiciously to all crops in all the seasons based on soil test values in order to boost the agricultural production of the State of Odisha. The targets yield of rice and other food crops could easily be achieved if we take care of balanced fertilizer use by all the farmers in rainfed and irrigated areas. It may also be emphasized that fertilizer response will improve with better sunshine, less cloudy days, weed free environment and less infestation of diseases and pests and timely improved cultural practices.

5.4       WATER MANAGEMENT FOR INCREASING PRODUCTIVITY:

                        Water is one of the key inputs in agriculture. Water Management can be broadly discussed under rain water management, ground water management, canal water management and management of waterlogged areas. Odisha receives on an average 1451 mm of rainwater. Excess water is equally and/or more harmful than moisture stress for non-rice crops as these can not tolerate stagnant water and are sensitive to waterlogging. Field should be well drained during high rainfall period for non-rice crops.

  • Making of ridges and furrows during first earthing up (20DAS) in maize and groundnut was found effective to avoid waterlogging during heavy downpour. For other crops field should be properly drained immediately after heavy rain.
  • On sloppy lands, crop rows should be made across the slope and excess water should be disposed off through grass waterways to avoid breaching of ridges.
  • Collect excess runoff in farm ponds for supplemental irrigation.
  • Rain water use efficiency was enhanced with maize (for cobs), pigeonpea, Groundnut, blackgram as sole and/or mixed/intercrop systems.
  • Threats of water logging, high rainfall and excessive groundwater resources can be converted into poverty alleviating opportunities in many parts of eastern India. Diversification of rice monoculture into integrated farming system will be environmentally sustainable, economically viable and risk avoiding strategy. This should be a replicable integrated farming model for the coastal districts of Odisha.
  • If water stagnates above ground for nearly six months in a year and only one anaerobic paddy crops raised.
  • Water table during post rainy season hardly goes beyond 2 m below ground level and can be pumped out with minimum investments and energy inputs.
  • Integrated Farming System of fish and prawn culture, cultivation of paddy, vegetable, fruits and poultry rearing was evaluated on farmers' fields.
  • The most popular models preferred in eastern India and suitable for waterlogged situations are mainly pond-dyke integration, fish-rice-duck/ poultry-vegetable and fish-cow/ pig-duck-poultry-vegetable. In addition to economic consideration, these systems are based on multiple recycling of carbon, energy and nutrients from biomass to livestock-poultry/ piggery/fishery etc. and minimize environmental loading with pollutants.

Guidelines for Water Management:

  • Efficient tubewell construction technology.
  • Protect ground water from over exploitation and pollution.
  • Conjunctive use of surface and ground water.
  • Coordination amongst research institutions/line departments.
  • Hydrology of village ponds.
  • Various technologies of rain water harvesting with small farm reservoirs.
  • Integrated microwatershed development programme.
  • Efficiency of water use in canal commands.
  • Operation and maintenance of the irrigation minors and subminors may be entrusted to the farmer's cooperatives.
  • District Agricultural Officer who has overall responsibility of field crop production for a particular district and knows various aspects of agricultural developments including irrigation water is technically competent to become irrigation officer.
  • Water management Committees should be formed at District , Block and Panchayat levels involving District Agricultural Officer, Block Development Officer, Tehsildar, Irrigation field functionaries, Agricultural Engineers, Economists, and farmer's representatives for efficient  water use for crop production.
  • A multidisciplinary training should be provided to all specific disciplines dealing with Agriculture and Engineering.
  • Training or of watershed management is an important and integral part for human resources development particularly in rainfed areas.
  • Farmers be organized into registered “Water Users Association (WUA)” at appropriate hydrology units of about 300-600 ha. The Irrigation Department can then transfer certain operation & maintenance (OM) responsibilities to WUAs accompanied by concurrent authority & power.

                        Drainage is equally or perhaps more important than irrigation in low lands where waterlogging situation develops in the rainy season, Decline and disappearance of many major ancient civilization have been attributed to their failure to heed to the damage hazard. In any irrigation system, the long term consequences have been waterlogging and/or accumulation of salts (salinity hazard).

                        In Hirakud ayacut of Odisha, the lay of land is responsible for waterlogging. From both the sides, the lands slope towards the middle. The terraced type lands drain all excess water to the bottom valley and cause waterlogging. The canals are gravity canals and are situated at the top of the head ridge.

                        In waterlogged soils, plants have thinner roots than in dry soils. Tomatoes, Potatoes, Sugarbeet, Peas and barley have high oxygen needs. Corn, wheat, oats and soybeans come next. Many grasses have lower O2 requirement than corn and wheat. Sorghum can survive flooding for some days. Rice and Bajara can pump air down into the roots and tolerate waterlogging. With waterlogging respiration of the roots is affected. This in turn affects absorption and translocation of nutrients and reduces photosynthesis. When the concentration of O2 decreases below critical limit, the plants die.

                        Small ditches can be constructed at points of depression and the excess water can be drained/pumped off. For quick and uniform disposal of water, land should be properly leveled with drains dug upto desired depth and spaced properly. The method of disposal of excess water to be followed depends on the type and magnitude of drainage problem present. Drainage channel, interception well and their combination are the methods to be followed to controlwaterlogging. Provision of surface outlets for most irrigated farms is a desirable feature of drainage. Shallow and minor channels conduct excess water to the ends of the fields and convey to the outlet at the lower end. These outlets may be as per the natural topography or constructed for the farm drainage purpose.

5.5       RESOURCE CONSERVATION TECHNOLOGIES (to arrest wide spread degradation of resources. increase in profitability and make agriculture competitive):

  • Zero tillage /  minimum tillage
  • Modified tillage and crop establishment practices.
  • Bed Planting - to conconserve inputs like seed, fertilizer and water
  • Rotary tillage  to increase productivity and net return
  • Crop Residue Management
  • Direct Seeding in dry bed for rice
  • Direct wet seeded rice
  • Tillage and resource efficiency

                        o          Nutrient use efficiency

                        o          water use efficiency

                        o          Weed control efficiency

                        o          Energy use efficiency

  • Laser land leveling
  • Resource use efficiency through IFS
  • Increase in soil Org. matter
  • Reduced soil compaction due to laser trafficability
  • Utilization of green manure crops
  • Ensure timelines of operation
  • Reduce fuel cost
  • Integrated pest management Benefits of Conservation Agriculture:
  • Farmers
  • Reduction in labour, time & farm power
  • Reduction in cost of cultivation
  • In case of mechanized farmers longer life time and less repair of tractors, less power, fewer passes and hence much lower fuel consumption
  • More stable yields particularly in dry years
  • Better trafficability in the field
  • Gradual increase in yields with decreasing inputs
  • Increased profit
  • Communities / Environment / Watershed
  • More constant water flows in the rivers
  • Reemergence of dry well
  • Cleaner water due to less erosion
  • Less flooding
  • Less impact of extreme weather conditions (drought, cyclone)
  • Less cost of road and water way maintenance
  • Better food security

                      Global level:

  • Carbon Sequestration
  • Less leaching losses of plant nutrients to ground water
  • Less pollution of water
  • Erosion control
  • Recharge of aquifer through better infiltration
  • Less fuel use in Agriculture

                        Conservation Agriculture is being practiced on more than 45 m Ha mostly in South and North America. In India during the last ten years Zero tillage has increased from 0 to 2 million hectares and is spreading very fast. Efforts are being made to develop and fine tune suitable machines for seeding into loose residues left after combined harvesting. This is important to arrest depletion of soil organic carbon and pollution due to burning of crop residues after combine harvesting.

5.6       INTEGRATED FARMING SYSTEM:

                        Percapita availability of land is going down because of decline in Net cultivated area and increase in population. During the year 2009-10. Net cultivated area of Odisha was 55,74,000 Ha and population in 2011 was 419 lakhs. Hence percapita availability of land works out to 0.13 Ha. It would not be able to sustain a family of 5 members with 0.65 Ha of land. The only alternative is to increase productivity of land per unit area and per time and to go in for Integrated Farming System.

                        A judicious mix of crop husbandry with associated enterprises like horticulture, dairy, poultry, duckery, goatary, piggery, pisciculture, apiary, agroforestry, sericulture etc. suited to a given agro-climatic conditions and Socio-economic status of the farmers shall be able to generate more employment and income for the families of small and marginal farmers.

                        Integrated Farming Systems have been followed by the small and marginal farmers in rainfed, irrigated and coastal agro-ecosystems of the state of Odisha. The objectives of Integrated Farming Systems are to control soil erosion, conservation of natural resources like soil and water, alleviating soil compaction, enhancing soil fertility through INM, improving soil fauna and plant protection through crop rotation, crop diversification, residue management, need based pesticides through IPM.

                        A sound land use policy is necessary to tackle the problem of deteriorating natural resources, especially soil and water. Land use according to land capability and minimizing human and live stock pressure on the land in accordance with the carrying capacity should form the central theme of land use policy. Agriculture on steep slope should be stopped. Alternate land use systems in place of arable farming should be popularized among small and marginal farmers. A strong political will and commitment is needed to combat forces leading to land degradation improving the productivity of the existing farming systems through latest technological innovation should be given the top most priority.

  • Farming system is designated as a set of agriculture activities organized into functional unit (s) to proficiently harness solar energy while preserving land productivity and environment quality, maintaining desirable level of biological diversity and ecological stability. It aims for higher productivity, profitability, sustainability, balanced food, clean environment, recycling of resources and income round the year together with capability for adoption of new technology, solving energy, fuel and fodder requirement. It further attempts to deal with the issues of deforestation, employment generation, literacy rates, input-output efficiency, enhanced opportunity for agriculture oriented industries and standard of living of the farmers. The common principles include the farmer-centred research; the holistic nature of farming systems; the need for multidisciplinary approach; the importance of on-farm work, and the interactive, continuous nature of agricultural research.

                        Rice-fish technology options are available for various ecologies in coastal areas. Rice-fish-prawn mixed and rice-fish diversified farming systems are suitable for waterlogged non saline and low to moderately saline fields while in flood plains and medium to high saline areas, the sequential and rotational rice-fish+ / prawn farming can be practiced. The productivity in rice-fish farming ranges from 2.5-10.0 (two crops) t/ha of rice grain and 0.2-2.0 t/ha/yr of fresh and brackishwater fish and prawn. This farming system helps in conservation of the ecosystem by reducing the use of chemical pollutants due to recycling of wastes among the components per se, lessening the groundwater exploitation because of rainwater harvest with in the system and decreasing emission of potent green house gases like N2O. Adoption of rice-fish farming will considerably improve and stabilize production systems in fragile coastal agro-ecosystem without degrading the environment.

                        Large scale validation of rice-fish technologies through farmers' participatory approach is needed in coastal areas, especially in the east coast plain. Location specific refinement followed by capacity building, public-private linkage development and support facilities are necessary for effective dissemination of technologies. Adoption of rice-fish farming can greatly increase and stabilize productivity of the coastal agro-ecosystem and will also ensure food and livelihood security of the farming community, especially the small and marginal groups, without degrading the environment.

  • Can the co-operative institutions be revitalized for mobilization of local resource for the purpose?
  • Assuming that lake of adequate marketing facilities hinders the process of diversifications, what kind of institutional marketing arrangements are required to promote small farm diversification? Can agricultural marketing co-operatives be strengthened for the purpose and if so, how?
  • Can contract farming help promote small farm diversification?
  • Can export promoting organizations be linked to co-operation with other agencies dealing with small farm diversification?
  • What will be the role of agri-business consortium?

            CONCLUSIONS & RECOMMENDATIONS:

            1.         The yield rates of food grains in Odisha is below the average yield rates of major states and that of national level. There is need for greater efforts and appropriate policy interventions to increase the productivity of major crops.

            2.         The average yield rate of rice increased in 2009-10 to 15.85 q/ha as compared to 15.29 q/ha in 2008-09. the yield rates of groundnut has marginally increased to 11.69 q/ha in 2009-10.

            3.         The yield rates of Jute, Cotton, Sugarcane & Potato increased in recent years.

            4.         The cropping intensity in Odisha increased from 135% in 2000-01 to 163% in 2009-10. The cropping intensity is generally higher in coastal districts than the interior districts.

         5.         About 79% of the total area under rice was under cultivation of High Yielding Varieties during 2009-10 as compared to 76% in the year 2008-09.

            6.         The Agro-climatic conditions of Odisha are favourable for the production of different types of vegetables, fruits and spices. The KBK districts, Gajapati, Kandhamal and Keonjhar are conducive for intensive horticultural activities.

            7.         Among the long duration fruits, mango, coconut, cashewnut, sapota, jack fruits, orange, lime and litchi are most favoured fruits in Odisha.

            8.         Odisha ranked fourth in terms of production of vegetables during 2009-10. Percapita consumption of vegetables has been increasing in Odisha.

            9.        There was significant increase in production of spices to 713.60 MT in 2009-10 compared to 482.98 MT in 2008-09. The production of ginger &turmeric has increased significantly.

          10.       Odisha contributed about 3% of total flower production in the country. Rose, gladioli, marigold and tuberose are the main flowers grown in Odisha. The area and production of these crops has been increasing over the period.

            11.       Yield rates of pulses (460 kg/ha) and oilseeds (776 kg/ha) are lower than that of national averages.

            12.       Yield rate of sugarcane is 70.85 t/ha.

           13.       Seed replacement ratio is very low in Odisha. It implies traditional cultivation practices in which farmers rely on farm saved seeds. It has to be considerably improved (Rice 21%, Cotton 66%, Jute 32%, Sunflower 29%, Groundnut 26%) on 2010-11.

            14.       During the year 2009-10. Odisha consumed 59.78 kg/ha. of fertilizers in terms of plant nutrients as against 128.6 kg/ha at all India level in 2008-09. The high consuming districts are Baragarh, Balasore, Ganjam, Kalahandi and Bhadrak. Low consuming districts are Kalahandi, Deogarh and Gajapati.

            15.       Odisha has irrigation potential of 36.5% of the net sown area. Hence 63.5% of the cultivated area is rainfed. Two new innovatives irrigation schemes were launched during 2009-10, (i) construction of check dams and (ii) installation of bore wells at massive scale. Rice uses 62% of share of irrigated areas.

            16.       Number of operational holdings are increasing over the years while area under holdings has been declining.

          17.   Farm machineries supplied in the state during 2009-10 include tractors, power tillers, self propelled reapers, power threshers and pumps etc. In the year 2009-10, Rs.81.644 crores was spent by the State to subsidies the equipment.

            18.       Total livestock population in Odisha stood at 230.57 lakh including 123.09 lakh cattle. The state returned 205.96 lakh poultry, out of which 70% are local back yard breed.

            19.       Percapita consumption milk, egg and meat is increasing over time in the state.

            20.       The index values of crop diversification are very high in Odisha indicating a high degree of crop specializations.

            21.    The share of value of output from crop production is highest (40.92%) followed by horticulture (33.25%) live stock (12.10%) and forestry (7.45%) and fishery (6.28%).

           22.      Within the Eastern States Odisha had relatively higher growth rates of area and production of fruits during 1991-92 to 2007-08.

        23.       Compound Annual Growth rates of Livestock in Odisha during 1972-2003 was negative. The growth rate of buffaloes & goats was also negative.

           24.       In Odisha, contribution of marine fisheries is more than inland fishereries.

         25.       The Simpson's Index of diversification (SID) was highest in Odisha (0.25). The crop diversification away from food grains was mainly towards oilseeds and to some extent vegetables.

            26.       Developed districts showed more diversification away from food grains.

           27.     Small and marginal farmers showed more horizontal diversification within the crop sector towards high value crops like oilseeds, sugarcane, jute and vegetables.

            28.       In Odisha livestock diversion was hindered by road connectivity and transportation problems.

         29.      Socio-economic, Biophysical, Soil related, Technological, Institutional & Administrative production constraints have been highlighted. There has been a breakdown of Agrl. Extension Service for transfer of technology.

            30.       Technological options for Odisha's Agricultural Development have been listed under the subheadings

  • Climate change related technology
  • Drought Mitigation in Drought Prone Areas
  • Soil Health and Sustainable Agriculture
  • Efficient Water Management for increasing productivity
  • Resource Conservation Technologies
  • Efficient crops & cropping systems
  • Integrated Farming Systems
  • Sustainability of Small Farmers

            31.       Even though technologies have been developed for crop sector, livestock sector, Fishery sector and Forestry sectors in general, these need to be fine tuned for problem specific, location specific and farming situation specific conditions through On Farm Adaptive Research (OFAR) and promoted through On Farm Demonstrations (OFD).

            32.       Rate of technology adoption by the farmers shall be governed by several factors including Socio-economic, Biophysical, Technological, Institutional & administrative constraints under which farmers operate.

               33.       Rate of Technology adoption also depends up on the tmely supply of right types inputs such as seeds, fertilizer, water, agro-chemicals, credit and technology delivery system.

               34.       Agricultural Extension Services need considerable improvement. The first green revolution came up because of aggressive credit, input and technology delivery system supported by strong Research-Extension-Farmer-and Market linkage. This has not been happening now.

             35.      Agricultural Extension System has been reformed without much visible impact. There is a strong need to evaluate the impact of T&V system of Extension and Atma Models. There is an urgent need to dovetail the merits of T&V System to ATMA Model to ensure responsibility for each of the field extension functionaries having targets of achievement.

            36.       There are evidences now that Farmers are no more enthusiastic to be in the farming profession. The National Sample Survey report (2003) revealed that 40% of the farmers want to quit farming because of various constraints, most important of which is marketing of their produce, unremunerative prices & distress sale.

             37.       The National Farmers' Commission under the Chairmanship of Dr.M.S.Swaminathan recommended that the price of farm produce should be 50% over the cost of Production. The recent example of Crop Holiday in Kharif rice production of East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna and Guntur Districts of Andhra Pradesh is a testimony of disincentive marketing structure in most fertile land.

            38.       The NSS Report (2003) further revealed that in the Odisha even after 55 years of independence, the Agrl. Extension Service did not touch even 25% of the farmers, out of which only 7% of the farmers were covered under the Extension Service of line departments. The other farmers (18%) were served by Radios, Television, print media, Input dealers and progressive farmers for extension messages.

            39.       Agricultural Extension Strategies have to be gender and community specific. For example in Tribal dominated areas lady extension agents knowing the tribal language shall have more impact than the male extension agents without the knowledge of specific tribal language. There should be aggressive training programme for all category of farmers.

            40.       Small & marginal farmers are the back bone of Indian / Odisha's Agriculture Improved Agrl. Technology even when considered technically sound are of limited value if the farming community does not adopt the same. In the absence of adequate attention to the understanding of the agro-climatic & socio-economic milleu in which the farmers operate, generated and transferred technologies are found inappropriate to the needs and circumstances of the practicing farmers. The reasons are (a) lack of awareness about the new technology, (b) ineffective extension service, (c) socioeconomic constraints of small farmers and (d) Instititional Arrangements for small farm diversification.

            41.       The Agro service centers and Agro clinics designed have not been oprationalized with competent staff at Block and Panchayat levels to cater to the needs of farmers.

            42.       Because of various public policies in social sector, agricultural sector has been adversely affected. There has been labour shortage at the peak period of agrl. operations resulting in abandonment of farming activities. The areas under fallow are going up year after year.

            43.       Gujarat Model of Agricultural Development needs to be implemented with complete coordination of State's line departments with total commitments on proper planning for individual farms during the summer months with fixed targets of assigned staff dedicated for Agrl. Development.

           44.       The concerned line departments are Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry, Fishery, Forestry, Cooperation, Agrl. Engineering, Electricity, Irrigation, Transport, Marketing, Agro Processing, Education etc. There must be effective coordination among these line departments.

            45.       In the short run, pending the streamlining of Agrl. Extension Services, Science Teachers & students of class X & XII (after their exam) may be involved in Agrl. Extension activities in three summer months. These activities should include soil & plant sample collection, their analysis, preparation of soil health pass books, Recommendations on manures & fertilizers on soil test values, preparation of vermi compost, org. farming, Integrated Farming System, Plant protection measures etc.

            46.       Institutional arrangement for supply of inputs and services (Agro service centers, Agro-clinics & Agri Business Centers) should receve topmost priority for each of the Blocks and Panchayat of Odisha State.  

          47.       Public policies must be designed by the Govt. taking into consideration the long range and holistic view of Agricultural Development keeping the recommendations of National Farmers' Commission and State Farmers' Commission.

            48.       Odisha State has many strengths with ten Agro-climatic regions having infrastructure for Research and in each of the Agro-climate zones and KVKs in each of the districts under OUAT. Odisha has many ICAR institutes to take care of Research, Training & Extension Education needs.

            49.       The scientists of OUAT & ICAR institutes are highly qualified and experienced. The Officers of line Department are willing to take up the responsibilities. What is needed is short term, medium term and long term planning with targets and timely execution at all levels.

50.       There are many challenges and opportunities which have been highlighted. Agriculture Development of Odisha can be easily achieved through farmer friendly policy initiatives dedicated scientists and extension officers, enthusiastic farmers and above all the political will and administrative urge.

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QUALITY ASSURANCE IN HIGHER AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION: A NEED FOR SCIENCE BASED AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT

DR. B. SENAPATI

Former Vice-Chancellor

Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology

Bhubaneswar 

Education in general and higher education in particular is central to national planning and growth. Keeping pace with the need of the country there has been unprecedented growth in higher education system in India. In 1857 there were tree universities, one each in Calcutta (Kolkata), Bombay (Mumbai) and Madras (Chennai) and by the time of independence in 1947, 20 universities and 500 colleges were established in the country. By 2001-02, there was 13 fold increase in number of universities (253) and 26 fold increase in number of colleges (13, 150) and by 2011-12 there has been many fold increase in number of educational institutions. During the last two decade period large number of technical educational institutions offering engineering, Management, Pharmacy, Health science, Architecture, Biotechnology, etc. have come up in private sector. Except in the field of medical science, the availability of seats in these technical educational institutions is far more than the demand and thus, 20-40% seats remain vacant every year.

There is a revelation that size and growth of educational institutions and number of enrolments are not always synonymous with standard and quality, very often they are inversely proportional to each other, which everybody is witnessing in the era of educational expansion.

Agriculture education in India, in an organized manner made a humble beginning in the first decade of 20th century with establishment of six agricultural colleges at Coimbatore, Nagpur, Laylapur (now in Pakistan) Kanpur, Pune and Sabur. IARI was established in 1905 at Pusa, Bihar. At the time of independence the country had 17 colleges in agriculture and allied sciences. There has been unprecedented growth in agricultural education since 1960 when the first agriculture University was established in Pantnagar, UP (now in Uttarakhand) on Land Grant Pattern of USA. Presently there are as many as 65 universities and deemed universities with more than 300 colleges imparting higher education leading to Graduate, Post-graduate and Ph. D degree in agriculture and allied sectors, Viz. Horticulture, Veterinary Science, Dairy Science, Agril. Engineering, Fishery Science, Floriculture, Sericulture, etc. In private sector also there are a good number of agricultural colleges offering B. Sc. (Ag.), M.Sc. (Ag.) and Ph. D courses. Besides large number of polytechnics Institutes. VAW training centre, Farm Schools, Gardner training centers are offering post-matric and pre-matric certificate courses throughout the length and breadth of the country. Large number of graduates, Post-graduates and Ph. D degree holders and certificate holders are being produced every year in the country. Question arises whether these educational institutions are maintaining requisite standard and quality. The answer is partly negative and partly positive, since there is a great deal of disparity between the institutions in respect of faculty members, infrastructure, management boards, merit of the students admitted, vision and capability of the heads of the institutions and budgetary provisions. It is an admitted fact that inadequacy of funds is not the only or the main reason of quality determination in higher education. Nobel laureate Prof. Amartya Sen expressing his concern said that “University education in India is in a state of crises. It is not a crisis of lack of resources. It is deterioration in quality. The quality would vary from one University to another. However, the minimum level of quality should be ensured.

Accreditation and Quality Assurance

Quality refers to “fitness for purpose” i.e. to what extent the product or service meets the stated purposes of the institution and society. According to the opinion of Ramamurthy Committee (1990) the quality in higher education should be improved in real terms not only to make it more relevant to our society but also to cater to the needs of competitive industry, indigenization of technology including research and development there in and their application”. Education being a national responsibility is the mirror of the society and must contribute to the socio-economic development of the people. For such responsibility the University products must have to acquire adequate knowledge, experience and confidence to fit themselves to the various activities in the organizations where they are supposed to get themselves engaged.

Quality is linked to performance leading to higher standards. This is viewed in terms of quality control, quality assessment, quality management involving the continuous process of improvement. Quality in education is a continual process which involves well defined systems, effective implementation, periodic reviews and revisions as per societal needs. Promotion of quality in education, no doubt is the responsibility of multiple agencies, Viz government, professional bodies, national level associations and the multinational organizations committed to the provision of quality education. In the process of quality up gradation in an educational institution the experience and dedication of the faculty members, students merit and capability of learning, effectiveness of management system, availability of financial resources for infrastructural development and the experience, vision and interest of the head of the concerned institution play vital role.

It is of common observation that the quality of human products of the educational institutions re given due importance in the job market both at national and international levels. An example can amply justify the statement. An MBA degree holder from a reputed institution like IIM, Ahmadabad or Bangalore or a B. Tech degree holder from any of the IITs is recruited by multinational reputed companies with lucrative salary packages where as a student acquiring the same degree from other management or engineering institutions would struggle hard to find a job with reasonable salary. This suggests that quality of education in these particular institutions is comparatively better for which the students, parents and employers show their preference even at higher costs. The institutions of higher learning are supposed to give students the confidence and ability to take responsibility for their own personal and professional development, prepare them to be effective within the circumstances of their lives and work and promote the pursuit of excellence in the process of development, acquisition and application of knowledge and skills.

Accreditation is crucial for upgrading the quality of education and to make it relevant to the societal needs of time and space. The concept of quality assessment in higher education was initiated in USA in early 1960s with a view  to ascertain the standard of education in private universities and other educational institutions and to make the students, society and other stakeholders aware of the status of such institutions. Subsequently many countries adopted the practice with a great deal of variation in the process and methodology. In most of the countries external agencies are involved in quality assessment and accreditation. Some countries like Australia, Finland and Federal Republic of Germany adopted the concept of self study as well as external quality review. In India the University Grants Commission (UGC) set up the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) in 1994 to assess and accredit the higher educational institutions by external agencies with a view to know their strengths, weaknesses and opportunities and to help them as per need to bring out improvement. In the same year AICTE set up the National Board of Accreditation for academic auditing and promoting quality of technical education, such as Engineering, Management, Pharmacy and Architecture programmes. The other professional bodies like Medical Council of India (MCI), the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI), the Bar council of India (BCI), Veterinary Council of India (VCI) formulate guidance for higher education to maintain requisite standard in their respective areas and give these institutions recognition.

The Indian Council Agricultural Research through its Education Division issues guide lines on Course Curricula, Acts and Statutes (ICAR Model Act) infrastructural Development, etc. from time to time and extends necessary financial support as University/Institution development grant to meet various requirements for quality education in agricultural universities. To equip the students with relevant knowledge and expertise and to build up confidence to meet the societal needs, modification of course curricula, introduction of new subjects in upcoming areas of employment, needs of perspective employers and changing scene in agricultural trades and environmental management, amendment of academic regulation, etc. as per expert committee recommendation are taken up in Agriculture universities from time to time. Rural Agricultural Work Experience Programme (RAWE) on recommendation of 3rd Deans Committee and that of Experiential Learning programme of recommendation of the 4th Deans committee are some of the Practical oriented programmes introduced in the farm universities in recent past. These programmes have been found quite useful in profernnsional capability building of the students. Peer Committee Review to assess the educational standard of the individual colleges and universities as a whole forms a regular and mandatory responsibility of the Education Division of ICAR with a view to upgrade and maintain the quality of education in Agril. Universities.

In Agricultural Universities the process of assessment and accordnation take place in four steps. Firstly the concerned University prepares a Self Appraisal Report (SAR) as per the guidelines of ICAR. The SAR contains the data base on activities of the constituent colleges and the University, staffing pattern, courses, infrastructure, budget, hostel and library facilities, students welfare programmes, research facilities etc. In the second step ICAR constituted a Peer Revision Committee who visits the concerned University, validates the SAR and submits its report. The report is examined by a high level committee and finally remedial measures are taken up as per the recommendation. Despite all these measures there is a great deal of variation in respect of quality and status of education between the universities which is of great concern of the educational planners and policy makers.

Research and Teaching Linkage:

Research is considered as an important component of science and technology education. It imparts excitement and dynamism to the educational process. Further, research cannot be effectively carried out without the vital support of higher education. According to Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Former President of India, “Experiences of research leads to quality teaching and quality teaching imparted to the young in turn enriches research and higher learning. Research brings transformation and development and also enhances the quality of education. The extent of research work undertaken by a University becomes a measure of judgment and representation for that University”. Thus, in the process of higher education research and teaching are complimentary to which other. Research in any discipline of science forms the foundation of technology through with various archives relating to human welfare, the educational institution, agriculture, health science, engineering, society, culture and other developments take place. It is said that sustained research gives rise to technology, application of which earns money, name, advancement and competitive status for the nation.

The institutional network for agricultural education and research in India is one of the largest in the world. Research is given due importance in higher educational programmes. Collaboration of students' research with the national crops/animal research institutes in specific areas has been given emphasis. However, most of the departmental research programmes are of applied nature and basic research is neglected. Industry-University collaboration in the field of research on specific areas of cliental needs and demands is not satisfactory. Public-private partnership research in agricultural universities with substantial financial sanction from industry sector needs reorientation and strengthening. For this, there is need for promotion of better linkage with industries to make agricultural research more relevant to the need of the industrial sector. Industrial growth is largely dependent on agricultural growth. Our agricultural students must have to develop research competence for developing advanced technology in frontier areas of demand.

Appointment of learned faculty having interest and dedication to teaching profession, mind set for research and ability for capacity and competence building is the first and foremost requirement for ensuring quality education in higher educational institutions. It is a matter of concern for those who are in the chain of higher education about inbreeding which prevents inflow of innovation and novelty, lack of cultural diversity, infiltration of party politics into Universities, etc. affecting the development of academic atmosphere and quality. After the operationalization of Career Advancement Scheme (CAS) teachers and scientists do not want to move from one University to other even on promotion. Mechanisms need to be developed for horizontal transfer of faculty from one University to other so as to infuse cultural diversity, innovation as novelty.

The exponential growth of knowledge is a great reason to make lifelong learning as essential characteristic of today's teachers. Besides, the rapid pace of Technological development particularity in field of agricultural and allied sector, engineering, space technology, information and communication technology, forced to update one's knowledge on a continuous basis. Sooner or later half of what we know about certain task becomes outdated necessitating lifelong learning. Further, there is need for modernization of teaching methods to enable the faculty to minimize the traditional chalk and talk method of instruction, use of digital method of presentation of lecture notes and make contact teaching more effective. Digital repository of course materials of modules needs to the developed.

Conclusion:

In the area of internationalization, globalization and WTO Indian higher educational system needs to be geared up to meet both the domestic and global needs and standards. It is the responsibility of the institution of higher education to produce manpower of higher quality who can successfully face competition in the world market. A successful researcher, faculty or student in addition to developing adequate knowledge and skill in his/her area of specialization has to acquire knowledge in some of the newly emerged and upcoming frontier areas, Viz biotechnology, computer science, molecular biology, nano science, space technology, information technology, communication technology, etc. We have to accept that research in universities is the most cost-efficient and cost effective model for employment and income generation. The University authorities should provide dynamic opportunity to students and teachers to undertake advanced research which can build important knowledge source and core competence.

Agricultural education and research system in India has been successful in producing human resources who have been instrumental in agricultural transformation in the country. In a span of six decades the food grain production increased from 57 million tons in 1951 to 155 million tons in Seventh plan, 203 million tons in 2001-02 and to a record level 252.56 million tons in 2011-12. However, in consideration of the rapid technology advancements taking place at global level our educational system must have to be dynamic and to keep pace with the changes that take place rapidly. The prime requirement of the agricultural education system is to foster a mindset among the students who are to be analytical, technology oriented and sensitive to the socio-economic issues of farming in the country and develop ability to solve the problems of Indian agriculture in the context of global developments. Times has come for harnessing the agricultural sciences for welfare of the people and eliminate hidden hunger and malunitertion problem of 121 crores population of the country.

 

CONSTRAINTS OF FERTILIZER USE BY FARMERS OF ORISSA AND ROLE OF INTEGRATED NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT

PROF. N. PANDA

Chairman, Western Orissa Development Council &

Former Dean, College of Agriculture

Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology

Bhubaneswar 

Orissa a state in Eastern India is situated between 17047'  22033' N latitudes and 81021'  87030' E longitudes. It has a geographical area of 15.57 million hectors representing 4.7 percent of the country. The climate is characterized by high temperature and medium rainfall. The average rainfall is 1482 mm of which more than 85% is received in the months of July to October. The mean summer temperature is 30.30C and winter temperature is 21.30C. With all these Orissa is considered ecologically handicapped and economically distressed.

Cultivated area is 61.80 lakh ha. Out of this high land constitutes 29.14 lakh ha (47.15%), 17.15 lakh ha medium land (28.40%) and 15.11 lakh ha low land (24.45%). Gross cropped area is of the order of 90.09 lakh ha with a cropping intensity of 160%. About 4.0 lakh ha suffer from coastal salinity, 3.54 lakh ha from frequent flood and 0.75 lakh ha due to water-logging. Flood, drought and cyclone visit regularly with varying intensity. Apart from these about 70% of land suffer from soil acidity with low pH, lower CEC, lower exchangeable bases, high phosphorus fixing capacity in many situations aluminum and iron toxicity.

Land resources remaining almost the same even reduced due to industrialization, better communication (roads), submergence due to major and medium irrigation projects etc., the per capita land availability in Orissa has considerably gone down from 0.39 ha in 1950-51 to 0.14 ha in 2005-06. There are 5.69 lakh scheduled caste and 12.30 lakh scheduled tribe operational holdings in the state with 5.14 lakh and 16.31 lakh ha of total area respectively. The SC farmers have a share of 13.99% of the total number of holdings while their share in the total area constituted only 10.12%. Similarly the number of holdings of ST farmers formed 30.24% to the total number of holdings and their total area in the operation is 32.10%. By the end of March 2006 2,745.91 thousand ha of irrigation potential has been created using surface and ground water resources when the actual area irrigated by different sources in Khariff during 2005-06 stood at 1685.23 thousand hectares.

Agriculture is the main stay of state's economy and providing livelihood support to a large section of population. About 85% of the total populations live in villages depending on Agriculture directly or indirectly. Orissa has been the pioneer state in formulation a historical Agriculture policy in 1996 conferring status of industry. It was contemplated that by the year 2000 the consumption of NPK would have been 100 Kg/ha. But by the year 2007-08 it has reached a level of 53.2 kg/ha due to obvious reasons. A new agriculture policy has been declared by the State Government in 2008 with the prime objective to provide sustainable agriculture development, to encourage crop diversification particularly in upland and medium land since there is no other way out than to take rice in the low lands. To raise productivity we need to look to the 8 important inputs viz (i) technical know-how (ii) quality seed (iii) manures and fertilizers (iv) plant protection measures (v) agricultural implements (vi) irrigation-drainage and soil conservation (vii) Credit (viii) marketing.

The success of green revolution in the country mainly depended on HYV seeds and fertilizer use and the contribution of chemical fertilizer was 45% as estimated. So many constraints could be listed prohibiting the farmers to use increased amounts of fertilizer. The main reason could be the poverty of farmers who has no risk taking ability. Higher productivity is dependent on assured irrigation. The consumption pattern of fertilizers in the undivided districts of Cuttack, Puri, Balasore, Ganjam and Sambalpur make it clear. About 75% of the total consumption of fertilizer is seen in the above 5 districts where 36% of the gross cropped area is irrigated where as the consumption is only 25% in the other 8 undivided districts where 20% of the gross cropped area is irrigated Consumption of fertilizer in the fully irrigated block of Attabira is comparable to Punjab for summer rice.

Heavy rainfall during the Khariff season prevents the farmers from using fertilizer due to surface runoff, flooding of the fields and inundation of the low lying areas. More over the topography of the interior districts barring coastal area is undulating and sloppy. Hence the farmers do not take risk of investment on fertilizer. Most soils are problematic due to low fertility, poor water retentivity and acidity. However, the Black soils of Kalahandi, Balangir (undivided) have good calcium saturation and hence not acidic. About 49% of the cultivated land in Western Orissa being upland is acidic. During the rainy season the number of cloudy days being abnormally high, crops are more prone to pests and diseases attack which obviously restricts the use of fertilizers. In the dry season, consumption of fertilizer is more because of higher fertilizer use efficiency (FUE). Photosynthetic ability of the crops grown in the dry season is higher and hence productivity.

Cropping pattern of the particular region influence fertilizer consumption. Intensity of HYV and fertilizer responsive cultivars of crops do determine fertilizer consumption if other factors do not come on its way. Remunerative crops such as vegetables, sugarcane, potato, groundnut etc. demand more use of fertilizer where as pulses and other oilseeds, millets grown under rain fed condition receive virtually no chemical fertilizers. It has been the age old practice of the farmers to put the uplands under rainfed pulses and oildseeds including Khariff groundnut. Socio-economic conditions of a large percentage of farmers (80% small and marginal) prohibit use of fertilizers since they are incapable of taking risk. One may be sure of increasing productivity by using fertilizer but he is not sure of profitability because of poor marketing infrastructure available to him. Barring the coastal area in other districts the land physiography being undulating and sloppy, one is not sure whether he gets the benefit out of fertilizer application or his immediate neibour down below.

Soils of the state being poor in organic matter and nitrogen, respond to nitrogen application linearly, quadartically to phosphorus and sporadically to potash and other micronutrients. Acidic soils have high fixation capacity for phosphorus particularly when water soluble P source is applied. Resource poor farmers cannot afford to apply a large dose of P to satisfy the adsorptive capacity of the soil. Here comes to choice of P fertilizer. Since only water soluble source of P in Di-ammonium phosphate, Urea ammonium phosphate, super phosphate etc is marketed the farmers hardly have right choice and hence refrain from its use.

In-spite of the huge subsidy on fertilizers which is of the order of one lakh crores of rupees, yet the price of fertilizer is strikingly high due to procedural lapse in price fixation. The GOI has decontrolled all the fertilizers excepting urea and have introduced an element of administered subsidy for decontrolled fertilizers which is allowed to the manufacturers as a subsidy. The amount of subsidy allowed in communicated to the state Government very late every year in the cropping season. Consequently, apart from the price structure, availability of P and K fertilizers to be used as basal dose become a problem. The manufacturers complain that they incur more expenditure on transport of fertilizers that what is available as transport subsidy. Hence they are reluctant to move the fertilizers from the rail-head to the interior Block headquarters. Hence in many places fertilizers are not available leave alone the required type which works as a disincentive, Orissa has primarily subsistence agricultures and the land is mostly devoted to production of food grains particularly rice even under irrigation. Acreage of cash crops being small fertilizer consumption is low.

Synchronization of agricultural credit, input and technology delivery system would go a long way for more fertilizers use. A single window delivery system as against multistage approach is beneficial for more fertilizer use. Agro-service centre within easy reach of farmers could be helpful. Location specific constraints should be diagnosed by experienced persons for removal of the bottle necks. Small packaging of fertilizer may attract more purchasers. Since the resource poor farmers are unable to take advantage of soil-test based fertilizer recommendations, soil fertility maps of the particular area should guide the extension workers in the recommendation of the risk free doses.

Socio-economic compulsions of the farmers in the coastal ecosystem come on the way of large fertilizer use. The area under coastal ecosystem is handicapped being topographically susceptible to saline indundatron, shallow soil depth, small and fragmented land holdings. Irrigation is almost non-existence and when available not dependable. Access to purchase of inputs, like fertilizers are low and unreliable. Non-availability of saline resistant cultivars works as a deterrent factor for fertilizer use. Access to capital is poor even short during critical times.

Scope of integrated Nutrient Management System

The basic purpose of INMS is the maintenance of soil fertility, sustainable agricultural productivity and improving profitability, through judicious and efficient use of fertilizers, organic matter, green manure and bio-fertilizers Reliance on Chemical fertilizer for sustainable agriculture development would have to be continued in spite of the environmental threats real or imaginary. Though bio-fertilizers could increase yields significantly, its benefit in acid soils is limited. Rhizobia culture is beneficial for pulses like green gram, black gram, field peas, cawpeas and oilseeds like soyabean and groundnut. But soil acidity is somewhat harsh on the growth of rhizobia and hence inefficient. Low base status of acid soil along with poor availability of P work adversely for efficient rhizobia population. Rice-pulses cropping system need application of rhizobia culture every season because its population get reduced under submergence. BGA functions poorly when soils are highly acidic. Acid soils are incapable of maintaining native BGA population. P requirement of Azolla in acid soils cannot be met as such due to higher P fixation capacity.

A critical review of the different components of INMS particularly in acid soils revealed that major weaknesses in the system lies with the non-availability of sufficient organic wastes, organic manure like FYM, compost because a larger proportion of animal dung after drying is used as fuel and crop residues like rice straw is used for roof thatching in many places and fed to domestic animals.

Ecologically handicapped and economically distressed farmer of the acid soil regions need not carry the impression that chemical fertilizer is a wrong doer and organic manure is the panacea since many organic manure like city compost carry heavy metal entering into human-animal food chain. The propaganda in support of organic agriculture by GOI and the state Govt. policy to quite an extent come on the way of larger fertilizer use though it has more myths than truth. Organic agriculture is not the solution in the attempt to protect the environment when in Orissa still NPK consumption per ha is only 62 Kg per ha risking productivity and production. During the year 2006-07 NPK consumption as chemical fertilizers was 47 Kg per ha which went up to 53.2 kg in 2007-08 resulting in an increase of 6.00 lakh tons of flood grains production. With such convincing data how one can denounce the use of chemical fertilizer may be practiced under rainfed conditions devoid of irrigation facilities. Once organic agriculture is encouraged avoiding external inputs remunerative price must be ensured for the organic

 CAN WE MEET OUR FUTURE FOOD DEMAND WITH USE OF LESS FERTILISER?

G. N. Mitra

Former Dean, Faculty of Agriculture

Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology

Bhubaneswar

email:gnmitra@gmail.com

      Adequate fertilizer use is essential to produce enough food grain and other food crops to meet the food demand of a growing population of the Country, which is likely to stabilize around 2050-60 AD. The amount of fertiliser, which needs to be applied to soil to reach this goal, raises concern about its adverse effects on environment and its impact on augmenting climate change uncertainties. It is therefore, necessary to examine, what could be the stabilized population of the Country by 2050-60, their food needs, quantity of fertilisers required to produce the required food grains, the environmental impact of such fertilizer use and possibilities of reducing fertilizer use without compromising food grain production.

Population growth and food grain demand:

The population of India according to census, 2011 is 1210 million and the projected population by 2050 is 1616.8 million. It is presumed that population of the Country would stabilize around this figure. The Planning Commission, Government of India, while fixing poverty line based on income/ food requirement in 1978, had assumed (based on calorific requirement of a person) that consumption of 650 g/day/person of food grains would fulfill the normative standard. While this figure has been contested to represent the starvation line, it can still be used to calculate the future food grain demand of the Country. The current availability of food grains in g/person/day is however 444g (Economic Survey, 2009, Govt. of India). The hunger index of India as calculated by IFPRI (2010) is rated as alarming.

A realistic projection of food grain production by 2050 can also be arrived at by plotting of actual food grain production against time from 1950-51 up to 2009-10 and drawing a linear trend line up to 2050. This gives a figure for possible future food grain production based on current trend.  The food grain demand and probable food grain production by 2050 using both the methods as cited above are as follows.

Food grain demand in 2050 based on consumption of 650 g/day/person

For 1.61 billion people in million tonnes (mt)            =          382 mt

Probable food grain production based on trend line  =          375 mt

These figures indicate that food grain demand by 2050 can almost be met if the current trend of increase in food grain production is sustained. Rounding of these figures a target of 400 mt. may be fixed for food grain production by 2050, which appears to be achievable.  However to meet the food demand (both in quality and quantity) of the deprived section of the society, as their economic status improve, a target of 500 mt. of food grains will be desirable. This will ensure availability of 864 g/day/person of food grains. During the last decade (2000-01 to 2009-10) food grain production stagnated around 230 mt except in 2008-09, when a maximum of 234.4 mt. was achieved.  This barrier has been breached at the beginning of the current decade with production of 241.6 mt. of food grains in 2010-11 (Economic Survey, 2010-11, Govt. of India) and a projected production of 250 mt. during 2011-12. This gives hope that the targets as fixed above could be realized with some improvement of current technology used for food grain production. 

Yields of food grains required to achieve the targets

Once the targets are fixed, it is possible to calculate yield levels required to achieve these targets at least for rice and wheat, which constitute 75% of food grains. The area under these crops has virtually remained unchanged over the years and is likely to remain so until 2050. For example area under rice was 42.7 mha (million hectares) in 1990-91 and 42.6 in 2010-11. Wheat area was 28.0 mha in 2006-7 and 29.2 in 2010-11 (Economic Survey, 2010-11, Govt. of India). The projected yield levels for rice and wheat to achieve targets of 400 or 500 mt of food grains are given below.

2008-09*         Target              2050

Production of Food grains (mt):          234.47             400                  500

Production of   Rice (mt) :                   99.2                 168                  210

Area under rice (mha)*                       45.54               45.54               45.54

Yield (t/ha)                                          2.2                   3.7                   4.7

Production of Wheat (mt):                  80.6                 136                  170

Area under wheat (mha)*                   27.75               27.75               27.75

Yield (t/ha):                                         2.9                   4.5                   5.7

*(Area under rice and wheat has been assumed to remain same in 2050 as in 2008-09)

(China in 2008-09 produced 126.5 mt of rice from an area of 29.2 mha at yield level of 4.4 t/ha and released 5 mha of rice land for other use)

The yield levels of rice have to be increased to 3.7 t/ha to achieve a target of 400 mt of food grain production by 2050 and 4.7 t/ha for 500 mt.  The corresponding values of wheat are 4.5 t/ha and 5.7 t/ha. Such yields are achievable and are realised in some of the agriculturally advanced states of the Country as well as certain pockets in other States. For example the average yield of rice from 2006-07 to 2008-09 (3 years) was 3.97 t/ha for Punjab, 3.11 t/ha for Haryana and 3.19 t/ha for Andhra Pradesh. The average yield of wheat for this period was 4.39 t/ha for Punjab and 4.26 t/ha for Haryana (Agricultural statistics at a glance, 2010, Govt. of India). It needs to be mentioned that per cent area irrigated for rice in Punjab, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh in 2007-08 was 99.4, 99.9 and 96.6 respectively. The per cent area irrigated for wheat in Punjab and Haryana in 2007-08 was 98.6 and 99.5 respectively (Agricultural statistics at a glance, 2010, Govt. of India).

Fertiliser use and crop yield

The high yielding crop varieties introduced into the Country during Green Revolution and thereafter give optimum yield under conditions of adequate input supply such as, irrigation, quality seeds, fertilisers, suitable crop husbandry etc. High yielding varieties for most of the crops suitable for different agro-climatic conditions have been developed and are used widely by farmers of the corresponding regions. Irrigation is expensive. The State Governments are in relentless pursuit to increase area under irrigation in their State Plans. Fertiliser use is linked to socio-economic conditions of the farmers and their knowledge levels. There is wide spread disparity among different States of the Country with regard to fertiliser use. The highest fertiliser user during 2008-09 was Pondicherry with 776.11 kg/ha (N+P+K) and the lowest Nagaland with 2.24 kg/ha, while the All India average was 128.58 kg/ha (Agricultural Statistics, Govt. of India, The All India average for 2010-11 is 144.14 kg/ha, Economic Survey, 2010-11, Govt. of India).

The high yielding crop varieties give higher yield when adequate doses of fertilisers are applied to them both under irrigated and rain-fed conditions. The States producing highest yields of major crops also apply higher doses of fertilisers. Punjab, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh, which produced highest average rice and wheat yields from 2006-07 to 2008-09 had an average fertiliser use of 221.4, 201.6 and 239.7 kg/ha respectively during this period (3 years).

Fertiliser need by 2050

One of the methods to arrive at this figure is to plot fertiliser consumption (mt) over the past years and draw a trend line up to 2050. An alternate method as discussed below can also be used.

It was stated earlier that the yields of rice and wheat required to produce around 400 or 500 mt of food grains targeted for 2050 are currently produced by some of the States of the Country or can be produced with some improvement of current production technology. The fertiliser currently used by these States with suitable modifications can be taken as the standard for the whole Country and fertiliser need for 2050 calculated.

A linear trend line drawn according to first option shows that the requirement of N+P+K by 2050 would be 44 mt. (313.3 kg/ha) consisting of 27 mt. N (192.9 kg/ha), 12 mt. of P (85.7 kg/ha) and 5 mt. of K (35.7 kg/ha).(Graph not included in this paper)

If fertiliser use by highest producing States of wheat and rice is considered as ideal, the average NPK use in kg/ha works out to be 155:55:9.5. Making some adjustments for balanced fertiliser use, the optimal NPK use may be fixed at 150:60:30 kg/ha and N+P+K at 240 kg/ha. The total requirement of the Country (140 Mha) by 2050 for N: P: K would be 21: 8.4: 4.2 mt and N+P+K, 33.6 mt.   This is considerably lower than 44 mt. indicated by the trend line.

Fertiliser use efficiency and its impact on the environment

Uptake of applied fertilisers by crops and their use to produce economic yield (fertliser use efficiency) depend on various factors related to soil, water use, climate and Agronomic management practices etc. The fertiliser use efficiency of N and K fertilisers in India is 30-45% and of P-fertilisers 15-16%. This indicates that about 30-45% of N and K-fertilisers and 15-16% of P-fertilisers are utilised by crops and the rest goes to the Environment.

Un-utilised N-fertilisers (which are highly water soluble) may be leached beyond the rhizosphere and percolate down to contaminate ground water. Lateral flow during flooding due to heavy precipitation or river floods may carry soluble N and N bound to soil particles to the nearest water body making its water unfit for use as a source of drinking water. Soil micro-organisms may cause denitrification resulting in escape of nitrogen gas and oxides of nitrogen to the atmosphere. Nitrous oxide is 300 times more effective than carbon dioxide as a Green House Gas.

Phosphatic fertilisers tend to accumulate in soil and their lateral flow is minimal. However during flooding they are carried with soil particles and organic matter to the nearest water bodies and may cause eutrophication.

K-fertilisers are soluble and can be leached to lower depths and move laterally to nearest water bodies enriching concentrations of plant nutrients in their water. This may cause luxuriant growth of aquatic plants, which may obstruct free flow of water. In lakes and ponds this will affect fishery and help growth of mosquito larvae. 

Economic cost of low fertiliser use efficiency to farmers and Government

As stated earlier the N, P and K fertilisers have low fertilizer use efficiency.  Farmers pay the entire cost of fertilisers but get 30-45% benefit from N and K- fertilisers and about 15-16% from P-fertilisers. According to Economic Survey (Govt.of India, 2010), farmers pay only 25-40% of the cost of fertilisers and the balance is borne by the Govt. as subsidy. The subsidy bill during 2011-12 was reported to be around 60,000 crores. The amount paid as subsidy by the Government is collected from various taxes levied on common man. So every citizen pays for the inefficiency of fertilizer use.

Benefits of improving fertiliser use efficiency

If the fertiliser use efficiency can be improved, the farmers can apply significantly less fertiliser and get the same yield. Environmental pollution now caused by high fertiliser use can be reduced. The economic cost to farmers, Government and the common man will be considerably less. This may also ease food prices.

Current methods available to improve fertiliser use efficiency  Agronomic approach

N-fertilisers:

Split application and need based application: Since nitrogenous fertilisers are highly water soluble and easily leached beyond the rhizosphere or lost due to flooding, it is desirable to apply them in small doses as required by the crops rather than applying the entire dose at the time of planting to minimize loss.

Use of slow acting N-fertilsers, Polymers, Coated materials etc.: A number of synthetic materials has been developed, which are partly soluble and release nitrogen slowly, so that this can be immediately absorbed by the plants and loss minimized.

Point placement of USG: Nitrogenous fertilisers applied in small granular form (Prilled urea) are quickly dissolved in irrigation water and are lost before plants could absorb them. A larger granule of a few cm size, called Urea Super Granule placed under the soil has been found to have higher nitrogen use efficiency especially for water logged rice. There has been no attempt to popularize its use or manufacture this material, since its cost is higher than prilled urea.

Use of nitrification inhibitors: These are chemicals applied to soil to inhibit microbial denitrification of nitrogenous fertilisers.

Partial replacement of N-fertilisers through Biological nitrogen fixation: Green manures, Blue green algae, Azolla, Azotobacter, Azospirillum etc. fix atmospheric nitrogen. This nitrogen, which is present in organic form as a constituent of plant/bacteria/algae etc., is released to the crop, when these materials are incorporated into the soil of cropped land.

None of the methods as cited above have been accepted by the farmers under field condition for the reasons; their cost is higher than subsidized urea, application in the field is cumbersome and labour intensive, the materials are not commercially manufactured and hence not readily available in the market and finally they do not give significantly higher yield than urea under field conditions.

P-fertilsers

Methods adopted are: Placement close to rhizosphere, Fertigation (application of fertiliser along with irrigation), Soil pH based application of insoluble source of P such as rock phosphate and its mixture with Single super phosphate. Mobilisation of P through Mycorrhizal association and use of P-solubilising micro organisms

Screening crop varieties for nutrient uptake

The high yielding crop varieties were developed with the premise that they would take up more nutrients from higher doses of applied fertiliser and translate them into yield instead of storing them in the vegetative parts. Since the development of high yielding crop varieties, the sole aim of Plant breeders has been to develop varieties which can give higher yield under different agro-climatic conditions with adequate nutrient supply, and consumer acceptability. The efficiency of their nutrient use is never tested. It is now necessary to develop varieties by traditional breeding/ genetic manipulations, which have higher nutrient absorption capacity from the soil, have higher photosynthetic capacity, can effectively metabolise absorbed nutrients and translocate them to the grains or any other desirable parts of the plants to help in synthesis of carbohydrates, proteins, lipids etc., the common constituents of food or feed; and produce significantly higher yield with moderate application of fertilisers. All of the crop varieties currently available or being developed in breeding programme needs to be screened for their nutrient use efficiency and matched with their yield

Biotechnological approach to improve nutrient use efficiency- Salient research results

Nitrogen use efficiency (NUE)

The current studies to improve Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) include manipulation of genes involved in i) N-uptake ii) N-assimilation and iii) N-translocation to the edible/useful parts of the crops. 

i) N-uptake: There are different proteins lodged across the pores of plasma membrane of roots which regulate transport of nutrients into root cells. Nitrogen is absorbed by plants primarily as nitrate or ammonium. There are different transporter proteins for these two forms coded by their corresponding genes. There are two types of nitrate transporters, the High affinity (HATS, which operates at low N-concn.) and low affinity (LATS, which operate at high N-concn.). No correlations have yet been observed between over-expression of these genes and NUE, though some indications have been observed for rice gene (OsNRT2.3).

ii) N-assimilation: Nitrate taken up by the plants is first converted to nitrite by nitrate reductase (NR). Nitrite is translocated from the cytoplasm to the chloroplast, where it is reduced by nitrite reductase (NiR) to ammonium, which is assimilated into amino acids. A number of studies have been conducted to improve NUE through expression of NR and NiR genes. Over-expression of either the NR or the NiR gene in plants increases mRNA levels, and often affects N uptake but does not seem to increase the yield or growth of the plants regardless of the nitrogen source available.

Naohiro et al (2009) introduced a fungal NADP-dependent glutamate dehydrogenase (NADP-GDH) gene into potato and rice plants under the control of the CaMV-35S promoter. In transgenic GDH-rice plants, number of tillers and spikelet numbers per panicle increased as compared to the control plants, resulting in a higher biomass production and a higher grain yield. NUE was also higher in the GDH-rice plants than the control plants. These results indicate that transgenic plants over-expressing NADP-GDH activities possess a high NUE, particularly under low nitrogen condition.

Alanine is the major storage amino acid under anaerobic conditions (e.g., flooding) since pyruvate is predominantly available as the carbon skeleton under these conditions. Shrawat et al (2008) introduced a barley AlaAT (alanine aminotransferase) cDNA driven by a rice tissue-specific promoter (OsAnt1) into rice plants. The transgenic plants had significant increases in the biomass and grain yield as compared to control plants when plants were well supplied with nitrogen. Transgenic rice plants also demonstrated significant changes in key metabolites and total nitrogen content, indicating increased nitrogen uptake efficiency.

ii) N-translocation: The capacity to remobilse photosynthates stored before anthesis in the vegetative parts and to translocate them to sinks such as, grains, fruits, tubers, roots etc. constitute the major yield determining factor and nutrient use efficiency of a crop. This has to be tightly integrated with nutrient uptake. The two processes differ among different plant species. In rice, wheat and barley about 90% of N stored in vegetative parts before anthesis is mobilised for translocation to grains. In maize 35-55% of grain N is derived from N-uptake from soils after anthesis.

N-remobilisation for grain filling is governed by (i) seed sink strength, (ii) transfer processes located in the source leaves, stems and in reproductive structures, and (iii) phloem pathway efficiency (Masclaux-Daubresse et al, 2008).

After anthesis seed filling takes precedence and remobilisation of nutrients is triggered from leaves to leaves and leaves to seeds. This causes leaf senescence. Genes encoding catabolic enzymes are activated, which dismantles cellular components mainly chloroplast. The number of chloroplast decreases.  However the basic metabolic activities are kept intact until cell death. Genetic intervention in any of these mechanisms has so far not given any desirable results.

Phosphate use efficiency

Strategies for improving PUE involve both traditional plant breeding approaches and transgenic technology. These consist of (1) Identifying a suitable plant trait or gene that potentially affects acquisition and/or use (2) Finding or generating sufficient genetic variation for traits within a germplasm source (3) Introgression of the trait into agronomically suitable backgrounds.

The major plant traits, which effect P acquisition, are (a) Root architecture, (b) Organic acid synthesis and excretion by roots, (c) Exudation of organic P-solubilising enzymes such as, acid phosphatases and phytases and (d) Phosphate transporters.

Selection for root hair abundance resulted in enhanced P-acquisition in bean, clover, barley and rice (Vance et al, 2003). These traits also helped in uptake of N and other nutrients.

Considerable variation exists among crops and different varieties of the same crop for phosphate (Pi) uptake, which could be used to improve PUE. Radish has been found to utilize P from aluminum phosphate more efficiently than calcium phosphate. The reverse is true for rape. This indicates preference for growth of radish in acid soils and rape in calcareous soils (Zhang et al, 1997).

Over-expression of mitochondrial citrate synthase in carrot results in increased excretion of citrate by roots of plants and results in an improved growth of plants when grown in medium containing aluminum phosphate or in P-deficient acidic soils (Fang et al., 2009).

In four barley genotypes expression of low affinity Pi-transporters, HvPHT1;6  and HvPHT1;3  and root/shoot ratio correlated with their PAE and PUE (Huang et al, 2011)

Concluding Remarks

When high yielding varieties were developed, producing higher yield with sufficient fertiliser use was the primary objective. Excessive fertilizer use, apart from causing financial loss to farmers, Government and the common man, will have its impact on environment and synergistic effect on climate change uncertainties.

Intensive research needs to be conducted to identify existing crop varieties with high Fertiliser use efficiency (FUE) and develop GM crops to enhance yield at a lower cost. Opposition to introduction of GM crops propagated by non-scientist social activists and anti-corporate international NGO's, needs to be completely ignored. The objections raised by them do not stand up to scientific scrutiny though they manage to get good publicity.

With complete sequencing of genomes of rice, wheat, maize, Soybean, sorghum etc. and work in progress on potato, tomato, papaya and a large number of other crops, availability of a number of new technologies such as marker assisted selection, various 'omics' etc., the scientists are now better placed to develop new high yielding crop varieties with desirable nutritional characteristics, pest resistance and superior fertilizer use efficiency to meet the food demands of the Country at a cheaper cost. Denial to use such technologies as propagated by social activists will amount to missing an opportunity by a few decades and will cause incalculable harm to the future generation. It needs however to be emphasized that development of transgenic crop varieties is still confined mostly to laboratory studies. It will take at least a decade to test them under field conditions and a rigorous test about their suitability to be used as food or feed. Acceptability by farmers and people in general will take probably another decade.

[References quoted in Biotechnological approach: Fang et al.,( 2009) Plant Sci 176: 170180,, Huang et al, (2011) Plant Physiology 156 (3) 1217-1229, Masclaux-Daubresse et al ,(2008), Plant Biology;10 Suppl. 1:23-36 Naohiro et al (2009) Plant Biology, Abs # P39004, Shrawat et al (2008) Plant Biotechnology Journal; 6:722-732.), Vance et al, 2003, New Phytologist, 157: 423447.  V, Zhang et al,(1997), Plant and Soil , 261-264]

MY EXPERIENCES WITH OUAT EXTENSION PROGRAMME

Dr. L. N. Kar

Former Director, Extension Education

Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology

Bhubaneswar

Extension as a subject was introduced in the college of Agriculture in the year 1956 in order to educate students about extension principles and methods for motivation of farmers for adoption of improved agricultural practices. Sri Lingaraj Misra had joined as lecturer to teach extension. Sri Misra had training in extension from Allahabad Agricultural Institute and had done post graduate study from   the University of Missouri, USA. He used to go to the neighboring villages, by his cycle, go round the fields and conduct group discussion meetings at evening. At that time farmers were taught about improved varieties of crops, use of mould board plough, application o fertilizers, growing of vegetables, compost making and green manuring.

After completion of my post graduate study, I had joined in the College of Agriculture in the Department of Extension. We used to go to the villages around Bhubaneswar and teach farmers about line sowing of upland paddy, application of phosphatic fertilizers, green manuring and vegetable cultivation.

The Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology was established in the year 1962 in the line of the Land Grant Universities of the USA to impart quality teaching in Agriculture and allied disciplines, conduct research for solution of the problem of the farmers and develop extension programme for transfer of technology. Prof C R Meeker from the University of Missouri joined as adviser to help develop extension programme. The Government of Odisha also had sanctioned a scheme entitled “Extension Research Block Programme” to strengthen   extension activities of the University. Lingaraj Babu had joined as Project leader, Dr Brundaban Misra and Dr K. Maity as Agronomist. The author and Sri Madan S. Sahu as lecturer in extension joined in the team. Initially ten panchayats were covered under the scheme and subsequently, twenty more panchyats were also added to the programme from Bhubaneswar, Jatni, Ppili and Cuttack Sadar block. In each of these panchayats, one field agent was posted to work with the farmers at the grass root level.

It is a fact that few of our top ranking officers and field level workers regularly visit villages, interact with people, find out their problems and take interest for solution of their problems. This is the real problem for which our rural areas are still lacking basic facilities and more than sixty per cent people are struggling hard for survival. This is also the reason for which our tribal people are   suffering from poverty and negligence. Realising this hard truth, we wanted to remove this barrier and worked for all round improvement of the people in general and farmers in particular through our University extension programme. Our aim was to reach people and teach them to have a better life.

Our Method of Approach

Once a village is adopted, we used all possible extension methods to contact people such as mass meetings, group discussions, field visit, field trip, method and result demonstrations, field day and exhibition etc. Audio-visual aids such as film show, slide show and video shows were also conducted to create interest of the people. We also used to invite officers of various departments to interact with the people and help solution of their problems. Deans, professors and scientists of the university were also involved in the process of transfer of technology. We had also some very good field agents such as Kedar Ray, Bhagirathi Praharaj, Maheswar Sahu. Ganesh Senapati. Champati Ray; who were very popular among the people for their good work.

We used to organise village development committee in each village to help in our work. An integrated plan used to be prepared in consultation with the people and personnel of the other departments. Attempts were made to provide required infrastructures such as irrigation electricity, road and supply of quality inputs. Famers were exposed to modern technology through training and group discussion. Liaison was maintained with other departments to get necessary help. Our scientists and field Agents used to visit fields and give necessary advice   for adoption of improved methods of cultivation. Because of our regular visit and interaction the people had developed great confidence with us. Once they are confident, it is very easy to motivate them to accept our suggestions. I think this our secret of our success. All our officers dealing with people foe execution of various well fare programme should adopt this method in order to achieve desired goal.

Some of our achievements

In all these thirty panchayats there was spectacular improvement in the field of agriculture, animal production pisciculture etc. Vegetable cultivation in Mugabhanga, Groundnut in Benaponjari, line sowing of upland paddy in Nakhauri, mixed cropping n Bhudhapada, dairy in Bhola, schedule caste development in Athantar and pisciculture in Ghoradia are some of the innovations adopted by the farmers in large scale. Our students also used to visit these practicing villages to gain practical experiences about our extension programme. Due to the impact of our extension activity, the people were able to increase their crop yield increase their family income and were able to improve their quality of life. Governor of Odisha, Sri Alli Akbar Khan and Sri C M Poonacha, Director General of IRRI, Dr. Brady and Director General of ICAR, Dr. M S Swaminathan along with many ministers and dignitaries had visited these villages and were highly impressed to see the university extension programme.

In 1978, the ICAR started a new programme entitled Lab to Land programme with a view to transfer technology among farmers through direct involvement of the University scientists. Two villages in Pipili blocks namely, Mathasahi and Dakhininuagaon were covered under this scheme. It was decided to bring out all round development of the villages. An integrated plan was prepared in consultation with the people. One lift irrigation point was installed with the help of the L I Department, which was inaugurated by Sri Ashoka Misra, the then collector of Puri district. The village was also electrified, which was commissioned by Sri C M Poonacha, Hon'ble Governor of Odisha. An old tank was renovated with the funds given by the collector. The villagers were motivated to grow summer paddy, tomato, sugarcane, banana and vegetables. Many farmers also started keeping jersey cows for milk production. Pisciculture was also taken up in the village tank. A primary school was also established with the help of education department and a tailoring training centre was started for the girls and ladies. Tube wells were installed to provide clean drinking water. Both land holders and landless were able to get engagement through agro-related activities.

A  large scale pisciculture activity was undertaken in the village Ghoradia of Delanga Block. An area of about 60 acres of swampy land was converted in to pisciculture tank and people are helped to take up fish farming. This project motivated many farmers to take up pisciculture around Ghoradia. OUAT extension activities were also extended to other districts through National Demonstration and Operation Research Project. Development of S C families in Athanter village under Balipatna Block, adoption of Barpali latrine in Bhagabatipur are some of the successful programs carried out by our extension people. Although initially we were giving importance for agriculture, subsequently we had included dairying. Pisciculture, goat and sheep keeping, mushroom cultivation, seed production to help people raise their income. Now OUAT extension activities have been extended to all the districts by way of opening Krushi Vigyan Kendras and the scientists posted to these places are doing very good work in helping farmers to increase production and thereby their income.

Odisha is considered as a poor state in the country. But it is possible to undertake rural development programme and bring out all round development by application of extension principles as demonstrated by the OUAT. Today, our greatest problem is lack of contact with the people by the administration. Our top ranking officers hardly find time to go the villages and interact with the people .To work among rural people, only academic qualifications should not be considered. Their interest and willingness to work for the welfare of the people should be given importance. We cannot force   an unwilling worker to work for the welfare of the people. Secondly, there should be proper planning for integrated development of the village and people. The most important requirement is visit of village and contacting people regularly to find out their problems and to help them for solution of their problems. Our senior bureaucrats, district collectors, secretaries and directors should move out to the villages regularly, interact with the people and help them solve their problems. This will definitely accelerate process of rural development. This has been proved in many places and this can be also done in our state.

However, we have developed a model for integrated aural development programme from the experiences we have gained while working through OUAT extension programe. Organisation and persons interested for integrated rural development are requested to follow this model. I am sure, they will definitely achieve desired goal.

            1.         Visit villages regularly and keep close contact with the people.

            2.         Find out their felt needs and community needs including their aspirations.

            3.         Help them provide required infrastructures such as   roads, electricity, drinking water, irrigation etc.

            4.         Provide them information and proper guidance.

            5.         Help them to get inputs including credits in time.

            6.         Keep liaison with all related organisations and persons.

          7.         Involve people at each stage and encourage their cooperation and participation. Give special attention to the poorest families of the village.

            8.         Provide them marketing facility.

            9.         Evaluate the progress of the programme from time to time and try to solve problems.

            10.       Make special programmes for the women and children.

Our administration, district collectors, heads of various departments, BDOs, officers-in-charge of various tribal welfare programmes should try to follow this model. If they will work in an area for a period of three to four years, following this model, I am very much confident that they will bring out tremendous change in the life of the people and area. Our sincere request is “let them use this model and see the results”.

O.U.A.T. : ITS ROLE IN DEVELOPING AGRICULTURE OF THE STATE

J. M. Satpathy

Former Professor and Dean of Research

 Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology, Bhubaneswar

The Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (O.U.A.T) is going to celebrate its golden jubilee this year. The news gave me pleasure and satisfaction as I have served this institution for about Twenty years as a member of its Agricultural Faculty. The University has the distinction of being the second Agricultural University of the country after the Panthnagar University in Uttar Pradesh (U.P).

Ever since its inception OUAT has helped students achieve their objectives in the fields of agricultural sciences like Veterinary Science, Fishery, Forestry, Agricultural engineering and Home Science. It has been striving hard to establish itself as an educational centre of excellence in the country. To a great extent it has been successful in certain areas.

Orissa is a state which often faces the Vagary of Monsoon. In the same year we see severe drought conditions in certain areas which the other areas are devastated by flood. To tackle such uncertain situations the University has addressed itself in developing suitable agricultural technology in fending off crop failures and safe guard the state economy.

Developing suitable crop varieties to overcome climatic hazards is one such area which has engaged the scientists of this University ever since its inception. As a result, good number crop varieties with drought and flood resistance have been released from this University which has become popular with farmers. Pest and disease control methods have been developed by applying the integrated pest control technology instead of exclusive dependence on chemical methods of control. The University has also earned good name in live stock production and their management in rural areas. Introducing improved and efficient agricultural implements for improving methods of cultivation is another area of its good work. The extension wing of the University has played its role effectively in popularizing these new techniques among the farming communities of the state.

Man has tampered too much with nature creating new problems even though we still struggle to solve many old problems that slow down agricultural production. Hence very careful and conscious efforts are to be made with in-depth knowledge of the local situation.

Today OUAT has excellent infrastructure and adequate facility to move in this direction. It has a chain of outlying research stations in the different agro-climatic zones of the state which one handling the local problems. In regard to proper guidance and leadership, the University is also not lacking. I sincerely wish and hope that the OUAT will progress faster in the right direction.

 

NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT FOR  SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE

Prof. Nirod Kumar Dhal

Former Dean

College of Agriculture

Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology

Bhubaneswar

Indian agriculture has achieved an annual growth rate of 2.7 per cent in the post independence era. During the decade of 1980's the growth in food grain production was most impressive at about 3.7 per cent compared to population growth of 2.2 per cent. Unfortunately, it slowed down in nineties to 1.8 per cent, lower than the population growth of 2.0 per cent. Further, within the agriculture sector too, the development has been uneven in production and productivity across regions and crops.

Ever increasing human and livestock population particularly in the under developed and the developing world is negating the technology driven progress in agriculture. Global human population was only one billion in 1800 A.D., doubled by 1930 and touched 3 billion mark by 1960. It took only 39 years to double itself by 1999. It is estimated that by 2100 AD, human population will touch the 12 billion mark. Most of the predicted future increase in population will be in the developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Similarly, in case of India where population is increasing continuously, it is predicted that Indian population will stabilize around 1.4 billion by 2025. The population increased @ 1.9 per cent per annum from 1995 to 2000, and the rate of agricultural growth is likely to be around 1.8 and 1.6 per cent per annum during the period 2000-2010 and 2010-2020, respectively. To meet the food demand of the population the yield level is required to be enhanced substantially and also sustainably. This has to be viewed in the present scenario when the emerging issues like, agriculture becoming less remunerative because of fall of prices of major agricultural produce in recent years, surplus production of food grains in last 6-7 years, liberalized economy under post WTO scenario driving towards commercialized agriculture, less attraction of youth to agriculture profession, lack of efforts to agriculture for employment-led growth in rural areas, mismatch between agricultural education and agricultural occupation etc.

Natural resources like soil and water are continuously degrading both in quality and quantity. Soils are being constantly degraded and overexploited. As per FAA estimates, only 11 per cent of the earth's surface has no limits on its use for agriculture. Nearly 28 per cent is too dry, 23 per cent has chemical imbalances, 10 per cent is too wet, 6 per cent is permanently frozen and remaining 22 per cent is constrained by shallow depth. About 70 per cent of the Indian soils are deficient in organic carbon (less than I per cent) and micronutrient deficiencies are being widely experienced throughout the country. Soil toxicity due to industrial effluents and use of chemicals and pesticides is affecting adversely both soil health and crop productivity. Ever increasing menace of land degradation and population pressure has forced the farmers to cultivate even on marginal lands.

Water is another important vital resource for economic development. At the global level, three-fourth of the earth's surface is covered with water and the total water resources amount to 1385.5 million cubic km, comprising of 97.3 per cent as salt water and 2.7 per cent as fresh water. Of the latter, 75.2 per cent occurs as polar ice and glaciers, 22.6 per cent as ground water, 1.9 per cent as soil moisture and atmospheric vapour, and 0.3 per cent in lakes and rivers. This indicates that very limited water is available for domestic, industrial and agricultural use. Fresh water is finite but renewable through continued hydrologic cycling. India is one of the well-endowed countries in terms of annual rainfall and has about 4 per cent of the world's fresh water resources. It is projected that the present per capita per annum water availability of 2001 m will reduce to stress level of 1700 m in the next 2 to 3 decades. Further the projected reduction in water availability to the agricultural sector from the present share of 89 to about 75 per cent by 2020 would adversely affect our capacity to produce more food.

Future gains in agricultural productivity depend upon integrated development and utilization of surface and ground water resources. The indiscriminate use of canal water is leading to water logging and salination in the major irrigated commands. The increased ground water extraction has declined water table at an alarming rate, putting an additional burden on farmers in terms of investments, equipments and energy. Further, it is estimated that even after achieving the full irrigation potential, nearly 50 per cent of the total cultivated area will remain rainfed in the country.

I believe that the most crucial issue before us is to continue building human resource in order to compete globally and serve the diverse needs of the society. Emerging challenges will require a new breed of scientists and managers that have excellence in the field of new sciences such as biotechnology, information technology, environmental science, Geographic Information System (GIS), space science, health and other natural sciences. The strength of an organization/system is determined not by mere numbers but by the technical competence of its human resource. Hence, the HRD should be seen as a long-term investment in the interest of global community.

Indian agriculture is presently facing with great diversity of needs, opportunities and prospects. There is a need for rapid growth and uniform distribution in production in major areas to reduce disparity. More efficient and sustainable use of natural resources as follows should be given top priority while planning for sustainable development of agriculture in the state.

(a) Bridging yield gap between high and low productivity areas: Very large proportion of area under various food crops fall under low productivity category (57 per cent in coarse cereals to 92 per cent in oilseeds). Their yield levels are about 40 per cent less than in high productivity areas. For instance, in rice the yield level in low productivity areas is 1538 kg/ha as against 2867 kg/ha in high productivity areas. About 60 per cent of such low productivity areas are in the states of Bihar, Orissa, Assam, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh for rice.

(b) Bridging the yield gap within a crop variety: Yield gap analysis reveals that sizeable potential of these crops is yet to be fully tapped. Differences between experimental and farmers' yields are quite wide. Equally the gap is wide between potential and realizable yields. For instance, in rice about 40 per cent of the potential available in the present day high yielding varieties is still to be exploited. Same holds true in other crops as well. What is required to achieve such yield targets is by diagnosis and correction of factors constraining the yield increase. Insulation of all future varieties with desired level of resistance to key pests and diseases and tolerance to major abiotic stresses like salinity, drought, temperature extremes etc. could be the priority research options to consolidate the genetic yield potential achieved already in the plant type based varieties and hybrids.

(c) Waste and fallow land management: Over 24.5 million ha is remaining as waste land and 16.6 million ha as fallow lands. Similarly, about 810 million ha of saturated soil is remaining least exploited in the rainfed lowland areas of eastern India. There is scope to bring under cultivation a sizeable arena of this large unutilized area through soil amendment and introduction of crop choices in the wastelands, moisture conservation measures, development of facilities for life saving irrigation wherever feasible and introduction of crop species/ varieties matching the available water balance in fallow lands.

(d) Raising productivity of rainfed crops through conservation agriculture: Even if the ultimate irrigation potential of the country is realized, about 50% of the cultivable area may continue to be rainfed. Since vagaries of weather affect production from dry lands and thereby the stability of the food production in the country, strategic research on rainfed agriculture may be a priority area, to insulate the farmer from high risk-proneness of dry land farming. Watershed development and improvement in water holding capacity of upland soils for raising productivity of rainfed crops, improvement of agricultural credit, insurance cover for risk prone areas and marketing facilities are some of the areas which need more attention.

(e) Integrated resource management approach: It will be in the national interest to lay greater emphasis on agricultural system productivity rather than on production targets. For maintenance of soil fertility on a sustainable basis in intensively cropped areas greater emphasis has to be placed on residue management legumes as inter crops for gains (residues for soil incorporation) and/or green manures, inoculation technology etc. Rationalization of use of chemical fertilizer nutrients is important in improving nutrient use efficiency in cropping systems. For efficient nutrient use there is a need to adapt fertilizer management practices with residue management and water availability particularly in the rainfed areas as indicated by long term weather forecasting. Excessive use of pesticides has made the pest management increasingly difficult because of the new problems such as pest resurgence and pesticide resistance. Pollution of environment and pesticide residues at toxic levels in the food chain are the other problems associated with indiscriminate use of pesticides. The need for judicious and rational application of fertilizer and pesticides is being address through Integrated Pest Management (IPM) which includes pest monitoring, promotion of biological control of pests, organizing demonstrations and training of extension workers and farmers, especially on crops such as rice, cotton, oilseeds, etc. by coordinating institutional and universities resources. The main idea is to adopt and promote environmentally safe and cost effective plant protection measures that harmonises with other segments of crop husbandry for achieving higher crop productivity.

(f) Management of biodiversity: There are many routes to rapid agricultural growth. Either through the expansion of land area with relatively low technology which is rather limited or primarily through yield-increasing technology or by changing the composition of production, and in particular from the rapid growth of agricultural exports. In this scenario, eco-regional planning will have to aim at enhancing agricultural productivity and production on a sustainable basis to meet the ever-growing needs of the farm family and the livestock for food, feed, fodder, fuel, fibre etc. This would call for an effective collaborative mechanism, i.e. responsibility for a higher level of integration in research and development efforts. In the eco-regional approach to research and management of natural resources, a balance in development and utilization of biodiversity would be important.

(g) Introduction of urban agriculture: In the last few years the urban population in India is growing in a rapid rate resulting in shrinking in green areas in cities and at the cost of valuable cultivated lands. This has resulted in increase in day temperature from 35 degree Celsius during 1990s to 45 degree Celsius in 2011-12 at Bhubaneswar resulting in a 'heat island' effect which is directly or indirectly affecting the rain fall pattern of the locality. The adverse situation is multiplying in rapid rate with increase in heat islands. The urban planners should think of introduction of urban agriculture through roof top or vertical or city farming which not only counter the heat island effect but also provide food security for urban people. However, there is a need for development of sustainable technology through collaborative research.

The central issue in sustainable agriculture is not achieving maximum yield. It is long term stabilization. Sustaining agricultural productivity will require more than a simple modification of traditional ad-hoc techniques.

PRODUCTIVITY OF MARGINAL HOLDINGS  TASK AHEAD

Prof. T. Maharana

Retd. Head, Prof. Horticulture,

OUAT and ICAR Emeritus Scientist

Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology has completed 50 years of teaching, research and extension service to the nation in general and to the state of Odisha in particular. During this period the University has established a strong net work of teaching research and extension through several Colleges, RRTTS and KVKs. The production and productivity in the state have been increased appreciably although process of agricultural development is a continuous process. Remarkable development has been achieved by releasing several rice, vegetable, spice, jute, mustard, sesamum varieties and large number of technology. But lot of progress is to be achieved in future years considering various problems like poverty, food and nutritional security, climate change, global warming, encroachment of agricultural land for non agricultural purpose. However priority may be given on certain important aspects like increasing the productivity in marginal land holding and increasing the cropping intensity. As per the statistics of 2009-10 on Agriculture of Odisha the number of marginal operational holding is 22.94 lakh out of the total 40.67 lakh operational holding. Most of the marginal operational holdings are unsuitable for commercial cultivation by using modern technology. The productivity is almost stagnant in marginal land holdings inspite the flow of sufficient fund and availability of other natural resources.

Table : 1 Details on operational holdings in Orisha as per agricultural statistics 2009-10 (DAFP).

tab8.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

In operational holding less than 1 ha normally grow one crop and in rare cases 2-3 crops wherever irrigation is available. The area under marginal holdings is nearly 1/5 of the total cultivated area and more than half of the total holdings. The average size is 0.503 ha. Above all the operational marginal land holding is comprised of several plots even upto to less than 2-3 cents which makes it more unproductive. Practicing of rudimentary agriculture in marginal holdings is common. The productivity is very low in these marginal holdings. The food availability per head is considerably low. In India 70% of the farm land is under rainfed agriculture and 60% of the people live in these areas. During green revolution 30% of land produced 60% of the total food and 70% land produced 40% of the total food and people living in this 70% land migrate to cities in search of food and shelter. Although food is available in plenty the hungry people do not have means to purchase the food. As a result huge subsidies are provided on supply of food. Large scale migration of people from these areas affect the cultivation practices in higher holdings capable to produce more.

Hunger cannot be prevented by merely producing more by few farmers but producing enough by a large number of people in places where people are depending on agriculture. Even we produce some miracles in development of high yielding varieties, increasing in fertilizers and pesticides use but we cannot change the productivity in marginal holdings. Modern agricultural science has provided necessary technology to eliminate poverty and hunger provided we use the technologies judiciously. Further the suitability of High-tech agriculture does not hold good in marginal holdings. Therefore we have to find some alternatives which can suit to marginal holdings and the people can operate easily.

The simple technology may be to produce sufficient organics for increasing soil fertility of marginal holding. In India we generate around 105 m t of waste, 200m.t. of animal waste and 400 m.t. crop residues. Improved method of composting is necessary to convert these waste material to valuable organics. National programme on green manuring must be initiated. Common perennial plants may be trimmed to collect leaves and twigs for use in marginal holdings. Several species like Crotolaria juncia, Sesbania aculeata, Lathyrus sativus, Glyricida, pangamia, Leuceana, Ipomea, Tephrosia are available in plenty. Addition of compost to the marginal holdings can maintain good soil health and increase productivity. Weeds and wastes available around the villages when composted can reduce the fertilizer use which the marginal land holders do not afford.

Many marginal holdings are mostly found in tribal districts. These marginal holdings are present around watershed areas. In Orissa we have more than 20,000 watersheds out of which 4000 have been treated nearly 5000 are under command areas. The marginal holdings in watershed areas mostly belong to ST, SC and other backward communities. Growing field and horticultural corps and arranging their marketing through SHG will generate good income and improve overall quality of life. Further the congenial climate in these areas is suitable for growing many offseason vegetables. Successful watershed management is highly remunerative as seen in Sauri of Gajapati, Dangarpadar of Kandhamal and Ledriguda of Koraput.

Increase of cropping intensity in marginal holdings will be beneficial to raise the economic standard of people. As per agricultural statistics 2009-10 the state average of cropping intensity is 163 and it is more than 200 in Puri and Nayagarh districts only. The best option to generate more income from marginal holdings is to increase the cropping intensity beyond 500 per annum. Cropping systems involving intercropping, mixed cropping, relay cropping, succession cropping, succession sowing, companion cropping need to be encouraged in marginal holdings. People below the poverty line requires quick return from farming for which, growing crops one after another will be helpful to give quick and regular income. Crop diversification is another important aspect to increase productivity in marginal holdings.

In marginal holdings, those are in drought prone areas, it is very difficult to grow one crop. Tuber crops are suitable for growing in these areas. Sweet potato, elephant foot yam, yam, tapioca can be grown successfully. Some of these tuber crops store well under ambient condition or can be value added to meet the challenge during food scarcity.           Intensive vegetable growing is very remunerative. In areas where climate is congenial and some irrigation is available vegetables can be grown throughout the year. Only effective marketing will provide substantial income to meet the daily requirement of farmers.

Another aspect is to grow short duration fruit crops like banana, papaya, pineapple etc. These fruits are always in demand. In Gajapati few farms grow small patches of pineapple, banana etc. One farmer has made an example in growing 40-50 banana plants in several small plot fenced by Jatropha. He gets 30-35 bunches of banana annually from each plot and get an income of Rs. 5000/- per year per plot. Further short duration fruit crops can be maintained in the field for few years following successful management to generate regular income. Papaya is in great demand throughout the year and fetch good price. Growing few papaya plants in marginal holdings will be of great help to generate more income.

Spice crops like ginger turmeric, onion etc. are highly profitable. They can be easily managed in marginal holdings. In Gajapati, Kalahandi, Koraput, Kandhamal cultivation of spice crops can be given priority. Good high yielding varieties have been developed by OUAT. But supply of planting material in time will help the farmers to cultivate different spices. Marginal holdings require few simple agronomic practices i.e. sowing early of the mansoon, weeding the field in time, providing mulch in good quantity which will help for effective moisture management in the field. Cultivation of few aromatic and medicinal crops has gained popularity. Lemongrass cultivation in Bandhugaon of Koraput is a bright example. Distillation units have been established in nearby areas to utilize the lemon grass to produce oil. Some SHG has started growing Aswagandha in Gajapati and selling the product.

The economic growth mainly depends on growing suitable crop by following proper technology. This will increasing the economic standard of marginal land holders and stabilizes them in their native places to take up cultivation regularly and stop migration. This will help medium and large land holders to get sufficient labour force to take up cultivation in time.

FIVE DECADES OF RICE VARIETAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMMES IN O.U.A.T.

Dr. S. R. Das

Honorary Professor and Rice Breeder

Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology, Bhubaneswar

In Odisha rice is synonymous with food and agriculture to a considerable extent means growing rice. Age-old social customs and festivals in Orissa have strong relevance to different phases of rice cultivation: Akhyatrutiya in May-June marks the seeding of rice, Gartbhanasankranti in October symbolizes reproductive phase of long duration photosensitive varieties while Nuakhaee and Laxmipuja coincide with harvesting of upland and lowland rice respectively. Makarsankranti in mid-January is celebrated as Chaita Parab by the tribal people as by this time rice is threshed and brought to the granary 

Rice covers about 69 per cent of cultivated area and is the major crop covering about 63 per cent of total area under food grains. It is the staple food of almost entire population of Odisha, therefore, the state economy is directly linked with the improvement in production and productivity of rice in the state. However, during the last 40 years rice area of the state has stagnated around 4 million hectares i.e about 10 per cent of the total rice area of the country. Orissa's share in country's rice production was 11 per cent in the pre-HYV period, which gradually declined to 7.9 percent in 2009-10 (Table-1). Presently rice in Orissa is grown over an area of 4.4 million hectares, which accounts for 91 per cent of the area under cereals and contributes about 94 per cent of total cereal production in the state.

Table 1.  Orissa's share in country's rice production in the pre & post-HYV  periods

Odisha's rice production:

Despite its economic, strategic, and cultural importance, rice productivity in Odisha is one of the lowest in the country. The state remained untouched by the effects of the Green Revolution for three decades since the mid-1960s, with rice yield hovering between 853 to 977 kg per hectare. This has resulted in a decline in its share in the country's rice production from 11% in the pre-high yielding-variety period to less than 8% in recent years. However, in the past 15 years, the rapid increase in yield growth saw rice yield showing substantial upward trend in 1986 onwards; all the same productivity continued to remain much below the national average (Table-2). 

In the last five decades, rice area in the state has been stagnant at 4.5 million hectares, with production growth completely dependent on yield growth. More than 90% of the total rice is grown in the kharif season, accounting for two thirds of the total kharif cropped area. The plateau terrain of the state, with yellow laterite and lateritic soils, is low in organic matter and NPK, accounting for 60% of the state's rice area. The remaining 40% of rice is grown in the coastal belt with alluvial soil, which is generally fertile but low in nitrogen and phosphorus. The slower yield growth of paddy in the state could be explained by the lack of proper infrastructure, including irrigation facilities, input availability, output marketing, transportation, and storage; socioeconomic conditions of the farmers; and the size of landholdings.

Rice ecosystems of the state:

In Odisha, rice is grown under diverse ecosystems and a wide range of climatic conditions. The immense diversity in growth conditions makes classification and characterization of the rice environments a challenging task. But, classification of rice land on the basis of some dominant factors that influence rice productivity is essential to make variety development and formulation of a package of practices for crop management more problem oriented. This will improve communication with rice growers and among rice researchers (Mohanty et al 1995).

Rice is cultivated on an area of 4.45 million hectares, which can be classified into six different ecosystems: irrigated kharif (27.4%), rainfed upland (19.1%), medium land (12.4%), shallow lowland (22.5%), semideep (7.9%), deep (3.4%), and irrigated rabi (7.4%). The rice ecosystems in Odisha and the approximate land area under each appear in Table 3.

Farmers have their own system of classification of rice environments such as uplands, medium lands, and lowlands, primarily on the basis of land topography and water regime. The farmers identified varieties fairly well adapted to different classes of land situations and also developed appropriate cultural practices. Rice researchers nationally and internationally redefined the farmers' system of classification on the basis of water available to the rice crop and quantified water depth during the major part of the life cycle of the crop. Although a broad classification of rice ecosystems in Odisha has been mentioned, the district-wise kharif paddy coverage of the state during 2008-09 revealed that uplands, medium lands, and lowlands constituted 25.3%, 38.8%, and 35.9% of the rice area, respectively.

Rice Ecosystems:

Classification of the rice lands on the basis of topography and water regimes is essential to make varietal development and formulation of package of practices for crop management in different categories of rice environment such as uplands, medium lands and lowlands. For ease of better comprehension the rice ecosystems in Orissa along with approximate land area in each ecosystem are presented in Table-3.

Rice ecosystems and rice culture:

The tribal people, who in the ancient past domesticated rice in Odisha, first cultivated dry land rice on the tops and slopes of hills. The cultivation of wet land rice in the valleys and on the plains occurred later. The systems of rice cultivation and seeding/planting method vary with the ecosystem and rainfall pattern. The details of rice cultural types in different ecosystem and the yield of different rice cultural types in Odisha are shown in Table 4 and Table 5 respectively.

Popular land races  grown in the state:

Odisha has been considered as the secondary center of origin and genetic diversity for cultivated rice. Thousands of rice varieties were cultivated in Odisha earlier and, even after the spread of high-yielding rice varieties, farmers still cultivate hundreds of these traditional types. Many traditional rice varieties such as Bobblibhuta, Mahulakunchi, Kulia, Kulia sankar, Kumarmani, Anjana, Benibhog, Chhetka, Kalakeri, Badamfarm, etc., for rainfed uplands; Barangachudi, Sarumundabali, Assam chudi, Boropanko, Saruchinamali, Rangalata, Kakudimanji, etc., for medium lands; Karandi, Bayahunda, Ratnachudi, Galleiganthi, Dudumani, Padmakeshari, Machhakanta, Magura, Kalambanka, Cuttackchandi, Mahipal, Mayurakantha, Champeisiali, Kedargouri, Champa, etc., for lowlands; and Sanakalasura, Badakalasura, Matiaburus, Khajuriachanar, Bankosa, Pani begunia, Potia, Pateni, etc., for semi-deepwater situations are grown in the state.       

 A majority of these traditional cultivars are low yielders and their low yield ability is primarily due to their tall stature; weak culm, making them susceptible to lodging; low tillering ability; and poor panicle features. These cultivars were grown for specific traits such as maturity duration, plant stature, panicle features, yield potential, tolerance of biotic and abiotic stresses, and other elusive traits such as aroma, cooking quality, and grain quality.

However, in recent years, the development and spread of semi-dwarf high yielding rice varieties replaced the diversity of the locally adapted varieties developed by farmers over generations. Thus, the loss of diversity and genetic erosion are a serious concern. The traditional varieties grown by farmers are likely to be lost in the near future if measures are not taken to protect these valuable genetic resources. Recently, the Directorate of Agriculture & Food Production, Government of Odisha, has made a massive effort to collect more than 1,000 indigenous rice varieties still available with farmers from different districts of the state. Efforts are being made for their systematic evaluation and characterization during the current wet season. It is proposed to register them as farmers' varieties with all passport traits according to the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers'

Rights Authority (PPV & FRA, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India).

These traditional tall types are still favored by farmers in rain-fed uplands, semi-deepwater and deepwater situations, and saline areas of the state. Despite their low yield potential, they are preferred for favorable traits such as early seedling vigor, rapid germination, deep root system with higher proportion of thick roots, superior grain quality, better yield stability, and tolerance of moisture stress, submergence, and salinity. Dixit and Challam collected nearly 3,000 rice germplasm accessions mainly from the six districts then constituting the state of Odisha: Balasore, Cuttack, Puri, Ganjam, Koraput, and Sambalpur. Some of the traditional tall varieties such as Kalakartik in Sambalpur; Saruchinamali in Cuttack and Puri; Bayahunda and Ratnachudi in Ganjam; Karandi in Koraput; Machhakanta, Pateni, and Kalambanka in Balasore; and Magura in Puri and Cuttack are the most adaptable types and they are widely grown.

Aromatic land races and their importance for economic development of Odisha farmers :

It has been estimated that more than 50 traditional aromatic rice varieties with pleasant aroma are grown in various parts of the state. These indigenous scented rice varieties such as Kalajeera, Badsabhog, Neelabati, Krushnabhog, Govindabhog, Padmakeshari, Tulasiphoola, Chinikamini, Saragdhuli, and Thakurabhog are predominant in coastal belts, whereas a few traditional scented varieties such as Pimpudibasa, Karpurakeli, Kalikati, Laxmibilas, Jubraj, Durgabhog, Karpurakranti, and Makarakanda are common in the plateau regions of the state.

These scented rice varieties traditionally grown in the state usually have small and round grains without much elongation on cooking, but have very strong aroma under the prevailing warmer climate during the grain maturity period in the kharif season. The small- and medium-grain aromatic rice varieties are regarded as a separate class of non basmati aromatic rice. A survey of rural as well as urban markets indicated that generally  these small- and round-grain aromatic types of local origin are sold with a price range of Rs.2025 per kg (about double the price of normal non aromatic rice). Therefore, there is a continued demand for the production and marketing of these indigenous scented rice varieties for socio-economic development of the farmers of Odisha.

Traditional rice varieties have been explored, collected and conserved. The Central Rice Research Institute, under an ICAR project known as the Jeypore Botanical Survey, collected about 1,745 accessions of cultivated rice and 150 accessions of wild rice from the Jeypore tract of Odisha. These are known as JBS varieties. In recent years, the CRRI and NBPGR have collected almost all the traditional rice varieties of Odisha, numbering about 2,000, which are conserved in medium-term storage at CRRI and in long-term storage at NBPGR.

History of rice breeding in Odisha

Improvement of tall rice

Before the inauguration of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and the Rice Research Schemes in India, the State Agricultural Departments were doing the routine work of pure-line selection of popular landraces available in the state during the early 1920s. D.R. Sethi, the then Deputy Director of Agriculture of Odisha Range, was responsible for the development of certain improved varieties: Benibhog for autumn rice, Cuttack-1 (early winter), Cuttack-2 (mid-winter), Cuttack-3 and 5 (late winter), and Kujang-1 and Kujang-2 for the saline tracts of the state.

Rice research, especially variety improvement, began in1932 following the establishment of the Rice Research Station at the State Agricultural Farm, Cuttack. In 1938, an ICAR (then the Imperial Council of Agricultural Research)-sponsored rice breeding project was in operation with a paddy specialist. The late P.D. Dixit was the first paddy specialist, and this position was subsequently redesignated as the Economic Botanist-I. Rice varietal work was also in operation at two substations in South Odisha: one at Berhampur and the other at Jeypur. As part of the Odisha Rice Research Scheme, a physiological section was started under the guidance of Prof. P.K. Parija in the Botany Department of Ravenshaw College. Research on agronomy, entomology, and pathology started in the 1940s with the appointment of an agronomist, entomologist, and mycologist, respectively.

In 1946, the State Agricultural Farm at Cuttack was handed over to ICAR for establishment of the Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI). The Rice Research Station was shifted to the new State Agricultural Farm at Bhubaneswar. In 1963, following the establishment of the Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) at Bhubaneswar, the Rice Research Station along with the State Agricultural Farm were transferred to the control of the university.

The development of improved varieties fulfilling the varietal requirements of the three broad rice ecosystems dates back to the late 1930s. Breeding method was limited to pure-line selection in indigenous tall varieties or farmers' varieties. Enormous differences existed in the cultivated rice varieties in Odisha, reflecting great diversity in the agro-ecological conditions under which the crop has been cultivated for hundreds of years. Many of these indigenous rice varieties are tall (more than 130 cm) and evolved by farmers mainly on the basis of their adaptation to local conditions. These are in general poor yielders but most have many other desirable traits. Through pure-line selection, altogether 30 different rice varieties were released in 1944 from the three research stations: Cuttack  (T series), Berhampur (BAM series), and Jeypore (J series) for different ecosystems in Odisha (Table 6).Most of these improved tall varieties are low yielders primarily because of lodging and non responsiveness to better crop management and they are now out of cultivation except for varieties such as T 141, T 90, T 1242, BAM 6, SR 26, FR 13A, and FR 43B, which maintain their popularity for lowland ecosystems and/or as donor parents in high-yielding breeding programs, and these have been recently notified to meet the requirements of seed multiplication under the Seed Act of 1966.

After the establishment of the Central Rice Research Institute at Cuttack, systematic efforts were made to screen exotic types from genetic stocks and many Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese, and Russian types were tested for the purpose of direct introduction. Some Chinese types such as Ch 4, Ch 45, and Ch 55 were found promising, combining high yield with earliness and Helminthosporium resistance was used in some modern varieties.

Short-height high-yielding rice:

The breeding program for short high-yielding varieties in Odisha in fact dates back to 1957. Late Professor H. K. Mohanty and his colleagues initiated the mutation breeding program then in operation yielded a short mutant, BBS 873, from the popular lowland tall rice T 141. The mutant was photosensitive (while modern semi-dwarfs, such as TN 1 and IR8,possessing the dgwg dwarfing gene, are photo-insensitive), moderately responsive to nitrogen fertilization, matured in about 155 days, and yielded about 50% more than parent T 141 in shallow-water conditions. BBS 873 was released by the Central Variety Release Committee (CVRC) in 1969 as Jagannath for lowlands in the coastal districts of Odisha, West Bengal, and Andhra Pradesh. For a decade or so, Jagannath was the leading high-yielding variety in Odisha. Because of rice breeders' deep involvement in the improvement of high-yielding varieties for irrigated lands and rainfed medium lands, the realization of the breeding potential of Jagannath and its exploitation for lowland rice breeding were delayed until the 1980s.

In the first phase of the HYV breeding program, the primary objectives were high yield and adaptability to irrigated medium lands in both kharif and rabi and also favorable rain-fed medium lands in the kharif season. In the second phase, the emphasis was on early duration (100 days or less) for rainfed upland ecosystems besides resistance to gall midge and bacterial leaf blight (BLB), particularly in the mid-season (110 to 135 days) varieties. In the next phase of the breeding program, major emphasis was given to developing varieties for unfavorable ecosystems such as drought-prone uplands, flood-prone lowlands and coastal saline areas. The development of hybrid rice was the next important rice breeding strategy to break the yield plateau in irrigated ecosystems.

Varietal improvement for lowlands:

In 1969, Pankaj (a sister selection of IR5) was released by the CVRC along with Jagannath and, at a later date, Mahsuri (developed from a japonica/indica cross). These three releases were being increasingly used in rice breeding work for rainfed shallow and semi-deepwater lowlands. One significant achievement in lowland breeding during the 1980s was the evolution of the short, photosensitive, late-maturing (about 155 days) variety Savitri (CR 1009), developed from the cross of Pankaj/Jagannath at CRRI. Similarly, in OUAT, the lowland rice breeding program was intensified in the late 1970s with major objectives such as short to intermediate plant height (90100 cm), photosensitivity with maturity duration of 145 to 155 days, panicle weight type, and tolerance of flood submergence for shallow-water areas; intermediate to tall plant height (110130 cm), photo-sensitivity with maturity duration of 150165 days, panicle weight type, and adaptability to stagnating water conditions through both submergence tolerance and moderate elongation stage for semi-deepwater areas. In both ecosystems, resistance to stem borer, gall midge, leaf folder, brown plant hopper, bacterial leaf blight, sheath blight, and sheath rot was an important breeding objective.

Breeding for Short height high yielding varieties possessing “dgwg” dwarfing gene of Taiwan origin was started, as elsewhere in the country, in 1966.  The two short-height varieties, TN 1 from Taiwan and IR 8 developed at IRRI, were introduced into India in 1965 and 1966 respectively.  The two varieties of exotic origin ushered in a revolution in rice production and immediately extensively used in the hybridization programmes for indigenous development of such varieties, primarily for irrigated ecosystem and for rain-fed upland and medium land ecosystems.

In 1971, OUAT released three varieties, Hema (T 141/ IR 8-246), Rajeswari, Kumar, the later two from the cross T 90/ IR 8.In the first phase of HYV breeding programme, the primary objectives were high yield and adaptability to irrigated medium lands in kharif and rabi seasons and also favourable rain fed medium lands in kharif.

In the second phase the emphasis on early duration (100 days or less) for the rain fed upland ecosystems, besides resistance to gallmidge and bacterial leaf blight (BLB) particularly in the medium duration (110 to 135 days) varieties.  Parijat (TN 1/ TKM 6) and Suphala (T 141/TN 1) were released for commercial planting in Orissa during  1976. Parijat is still maintaining its popularity among the farmers all over the state and also spreading to the adjoining districts in West Bengal. 

Varieties like Subhadra and Keshari for uplands, Jajati and IR 36 for medium lands were released in 1980.  IR 36 was an introduction from IRRI, Jajati is an intermediate height selection from the cross Rajeswari/ T 141, weakly photosensitive, high yielding and has fine grains with good cooking quality.  The variety is commercially successful and grown extensively in South Orissa. Subhadra has drought tolerance and Keshari showed yield potential of as high as 8 t/ha in the international evaluation tests.

Of the five varieties released in 1983, Shankar and Rudra developed from the cross Parijat/IET 3225, are popular for their extra early maturity (about 85 days in kharif) and preferred in areas where upland rice crop faces terminal drought. Sarathi is a mid-early (115 days) variety developed from the cross T 90/ IR 8// W 1263, combines high yield potential with broad spectrum of resistance to diseases and insect pests and wide adaptability. The two varieties Daya and Pratap were developed from the cross Kumar/CR 57-49 and popular for their high yield potential and high resistance to the gallmidge Biotype 2 prevalent in Orissa.  Subsequently they are also found showing high resistance to the brown-plant-hopper (BPH) which became epidemic in the early 1980s in the state.

Of the three releases in 1985, Pathara (Co 18/Hema) is showing popularity among the upland farmers for its tolerance to adverse conditions; the mid-season variety Gouri (Rajeswari/Vikarm) for its high yield, good grain quality and multiple resistance ability and the low land variety Rambha ( Pankaj/ W1263) exhibit superior performance under both shallow and semi-deep water situations.

The four mid-season varieties Lalat, Ananga, Shrabani and Bhuban, released in 1988, combine high yield and multiple resistance.  The variety Lalat derived from a complex cross is extensively cultivated all over the state for its good grain quality besides high yield and multiple resistance.

In 1992 four upland varieties, Badami, Nilgiri, Khandagiri and Ghanteswari were released.. In the mid-season group the four releases, Birupa, Bhanja, Samanta and Meher possess high yield potential plus moderate to high level of resistance to the major insect pests and diseases. In the late maturity group the four releases include Manika, Urbashi, Mahalaxmi and Kanchan possess high yield potential, moderate level of resistance to the major insect pests and diseases and low land adaptability.                                 

In 1999 two upland varieties like Udayagiri and Lalitagiri were released. In the     mid-season and medium group the six releases include Sebati, Bhoi, Konark, in mid season and Surendra,Gajapati, Kharavela in medium group combining high yield potential with multiple resistance to major pests and diseases. Similarly, in late group varieties like Prachi, Ramchandi, Mahanadi and Indravati were released for shallow lowland situations of Orissa.

In 2002 Jagabandhu, a late maturing rice variety was released for cultivation under rainfed lowland situation of the state. This variety has exhibited wide adaptability, sturdy stem, resistance to lodging and grain shattering and field tolerance to leaf folder and BLB. It is fast spreading in shallow lowlands and is likely to supplement Savitri and Kanchan for rainfed lowland situation of the state.

In 2005 two upland varieties like Jogesh and Sidhant; one medium maturity duration variety Pratikshya with high yield potential and multiple resistance and one lowland variety Upahar were released for commercial planting in Orissa. The variety Sidhanta (Jajati/Annapurna) exhibited wide adaptability under moisture stress situations in different rainfed areas of the country. The variety Pratikshya (Swarna/IR 64) is gaining fast popularity in rain fed and irrigated medium lands as an alternative to Swarna by virtue of its high yield better resistance to pests and disease and superior grain quality. Similarly Upahar (Mahalaxmi/IR 62) is accepted by the farming community for exhibiting high yield under both shallow and semi-deep water conditions

In 2008 one mid-season maturity duration Manaswini with high yield potential and multiple resistance was released for commercial planting in Orissa.

In 2009 one medium maturity duration variety Ranidhan with high yield potential and multiple resistance was released as a substitute for widely grown variety Swarna.

In 2010 one upland variety Mandakini; one medium maturity duration variety Tejaswini with high yield potential and multiple resistance and one lowland variety Mrunalini were released for commercial planting in Orissa. Mandakini (Ghanteswari/ IR 27069) exhibited yield superiority under optimum water regime in rainfed uplands and established superior yield advantage over Vandana and Khandagiri in rainfed and irrigated upland areas of Odisha in the eastern region.

In 2012 one upland variety Jyotirmayee, one medium maturity duration variety Hiranmayee with high yield potential and multiple resistance, one lowland variety Tanmayee and a short grain aromatic rice variety Nua Acharamati developed through pure line selection from the indigenous aromatic rice collection from Bhawanipatna  were released for commercial planting in Orissa.

All together fifty nine rice varieties have been released during the last 40 years to meet the varietal requirements for different land situations of the state and these are shown in Table 7.

Some of the above mentioned varieties which have gained popularity among the farmers of Odisha and are cultivated in a sizeable area are mentioned below

                      Parijat, Pathara, Khandagiri , Udayagiri, Sidhant and Mandakini for uplands in Kharif and irrigated lands in rabi seasons.

                      Lalat, Jajati, Konark, Gouri, Gajapati, Surendra and Pratikshya in medium rainfed and irrigated lands.

                      Kanchan, Mahanadi, Indravati, Jagabandhu and Upahar in lowlands.

Success achieved in generation of appropriate adoptable technologies in the field of not only varietal improvement but also production, protection and conservation (storage) technologies over the years of location specific research in different agro-climatic zones of the state and their adoption there of has resulted in boosting of rice production to a comfortable stage.

The AICRIP and INGER besides assisting variety evaluation assured free flow of elite germplasm to the participating breeders. Rice breeding programme at OUAT has been greatly benefited; elite lines were made available under the systems are being used as parents in the hybridization programme.  In 1980 OUAT introduced IR 36 for commercial cultivation in Orissa. Materials have gone also in reverse way.  In 1985 through INGER, rice breeders in Cambodia identified suitability of an OUAT breeding line, OR 142-99(Pankaj/Sigadis) as promising and later released the line under the popular name Santep Heap-3 for commercial planting and the variety is now one of the leading varieties of the country. In 1992 the variety Rambha (Pankaj/W 1263) was identified as suitable for Myanmar and Sarathi (T90/IR 8//W 1263) for irrigated lands in Thailand, Malayasia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Egypt. In 2000 one of the lowland cultures OR 1128-7-1 was released in Tamil Nadu under the popular name of ADT 44.

Besides applied research on rice breeding and varietal improvement, basic studies with relevance to the HYV breeding program have been going on since the 1980s, and some of the important findings are as follows:

                      A competition study involving four established early varieties (Annapurna, Parijat, Suphala, and Bala) showed Annapurna to be the most competitive, followed by Parijat; there appears to be a relationship between competitive ability and adaptability.

                      The Annapurna + Parijat combination was the best forming mixture, with more than a 14% yield increase over that of monoculture.

                      Heterotic hybrids often generate better recombinants in the advanced generation.

                      Inheritance of short height in mutant variety Jagannath appeared to be multigenic.

                      Both additive and non-additive gene action are important in the inheritance of yield and its components like grain number and 100-grain weight.

                      Selection response is higher for grain yield as a basis of selection than any of its important components.

                      Submergence tolerance is governed by a few dominant genes; growth vigor, sturdy stem, tight leaf sheath, and regeneration ability greatly improve the expression of tolerance.

                      Standardization of rapid generation advance (RGA) in lowland rice.

In lowland breeding programs for advancing the segregating population, it normally takes 7 years to reach homozygosis as only one crop could be raised in a year because the plants are photosensitive with strong seed dormancy. On the other hand, it takes only 3 to 4 years in the case of photo-insensitive breeding materials that can be grown to maturity in both kharif and rabi. The following method for rapid generation advance has been standardized to raise a rabi crop of photosensitive breeding materials:

                      Collect bulk seed samples from each of the breeding populations of F2 through F5 at the latest by the last week of December in the kharif season.

                      Dry the seeds in the oven at 55 °C for 5 days.

                      Do direct seeding in the field at the latest by 10 January.

                      In May-June, collect ears from the bulk population on the basis of visual selection for grain number and grain quality and use them in raising pedigree lines in the ensuing kharif.

                      Do normal single plant selection for plant type and better agronomic features done in the wet season.       

Conclusions and future outlook:

Total rice production in Odisha in 2009-10 was recorded as 6.94 million ton with productivity of 1,572 kg/ha. The targeted rice production of 10.13 million ton (at compound growth rate of 3.5%) with productivity of 2,295 kg/ha by 2020 has been computed over the rice production in 2009-10.

However, rice production during the preceding years varied greatly from year to year (Table 2 ). Thus, yield fluctuation is a serious concern and all efforts need to be directed not only to attain the targeted production of 10.00 million t but also stability in rice production. It is equally important to identify the factors responsible for yield fluctuation during this period.

With the existing available technology in the shape of suitable varieties and an appropriate package of practices, productivity in irrigated lands, favorable rainfed medium lands, and shallow-water lowlands could be increased to reach the targeted rice production by 2020. For this, special emphasis should be given to shallow-water lowlands. The inherent fertility of these lands is high and, with suitable high-yielding rice varieties and better variety-input management, the productivity of these lands covering an area of nearly 50% of the total rice area could be increased from the present level of 1.3 t/ha to 2.0 t/ha.

However, as a long-term strategy going beyond 2020, it is imperative to resort to remedial measures against maladies associated with various types of socioeconomic problems. There is a need for measures to maintain soil fertility and land development. Further, research programs should be re-oriented to develop technologies for mostly rainfed situations, which have so far been neglected.

Thrust  areas of research:

          Development of rice varieties with early seedling vigour to combat weed growth and drought tolerance.

This could be achieved by using traditional and reputed upland  rice varieties which withstand drought by virtue of their deep root system also resist weed growth due to early seedling vigour in hybridization programmes through some innovative breeding and selection techniques like Disruptive mating, biparental mating and recurrent selections which not only upgrade breeder's gene pool but also enhance genetic recombination for recovery of superior genotypes by breaking undesirable linkages.

          Development of rice varieties for aerobic production system.

Aerobic rice is aimed at obtaining high yields with less water. The cultivars suited for the system have high seedling vigour, deep root system, lodging resistance, input responsive and high harvest index. The system can be exploited under both rainfed uplands and drought prone rainfed  lowlands.

          Improvement of yield by manipulation of physiological frame of rice plants.

Yield is a function of dry matter and harvest index. Yield can be increased by increasing either biomass or harvest index or both. In other words the physiological efficiency of crop plants broadly includes higher biomass production and efficient translocation of dry matter for  realization of higher yield. This could be achieved by high photosynthetic area, slow leaf senescence, high nitrate assimilation and high nitrate reductase activity, low respiration and photo-respiration, high accumulation of nitrogen and mineral during early phases  of growth, large and active sink (high grain number per unit area and stability in grain number, high grain weight and lower spikelet sterility), greater nitrogen use efficiency which results from higher root absorption potential, greater shoot N-use capacity and more efficient N-translocation as well as their positive interactions, thus reflecting high harvest index and increased yield.

The physiological manipulation although a rational approach, the physiological basis of yield is complex and intensive basic research should be carried out before its use in practical crop breeding.

          Tailoring new plant type varieties

On the strength of their long experience and experimental findings breeders believed that genetic yield level of rice under irrigated ecologies could be raised by 20-25% through enhancement of biomass per unit area without altering the current level of harvest index.

Scientists at IRRI and IARI have demonstrated that new plant type varieties could yield more than the targeted 12.5 t/ha. The strategy lies in increasing the biomass per unit area and hence higher yield by planting less profusely tillering but high panicle weight genotypes at high density by manipulation of crop geometry.

The new plant type now been tailored in rice is of semidwarf (~100cm.) stature with 7-8 productive and synchronized tillers, very strong culm with upright foliage, heavy panicles with high grain number (200-250 grains / panicle) and high test grain weight ( ~25 gm/ 1000 grains).

Physiologically the new plant type is characterised by more foliar growth during pre reproductive phase and less growth but enhanced translocation of assimilate from leaf to stem during reproductive phase, descending concentration of tissue N from top to the base of plant canopy and relatively large sink size with longer grain filling period. In the experimental trials some of the new plant type breeding lines such as IR 68552-5-3-2 and Pusa 1021, Pusa 1266 have been formed to yield a ton more than the highest yielding varieties like Jaya.

          Extending hybrid technology in inter sub-specific background.

Experience with the performance of inter and intra specific hybrids show yield vigour of various combinations to be in the order of indica / japonica > indica / javanica > indica / indica > japonica / japonica > javanica / javanica. The major hurdles to exploitation of the most promising indica / joponica combinations, however is hybrid semi-sterility which was solved with the discovery of simply inherited wide compatibility system, in the presence of which in one or the other parent, hybrid remain completely fertile.

Using the early discovered wide compatibility gene 'Sn5' found in sources like Dular, Keta Nanga etc. several high productive indica / japonica hybrids yielding as high as 14-15 t/ha as against 10-12 t / ha in indica / indica hybrids have been released in China for commercial cultivation.

          Uncovering and exploiting new yield genes from land races and wild / weedy species:

Over 85-90% of the still unexploited variability lies unused in land races and wild / weedy relatives which hardly are  the choice of breeders for use as parental source for yield enhancement.

Some of the genes from wild species have been used as sources of simply inherited traits like resistance to pests and diseases and no attempt has been made to exploit their yield contributing potential and use until molecular marker technology came handy.

Some of the successful introgression of traits like BLB, BPH and blast resistance from O.minuta and O.officinalis , grassy stunt virus from O.officinalis, yellow stem borer and BPH resistance from O.longistaminata and O.nivara and tolerance to tungro disease from O.rufipogon. 3 varieties with genes introgressed from wild species have been released for cultivation in Phillippines and Vietnam in 2002.

Frey and his group over a period of 20 years working with interspecific crosses in oats could demonstrate first the potential of wild relatives for yield improvement by conventional backcross breeding.

More convincingly, the potential of wild species for cultivar improvement could be brought out through mapping of molecular marker associated QTLs by Cornell University Molecular biologists. The group has been successful in discovering two new QTLs viz yld 1 and yld 2 from Oryza rufipogon , the progenitor species of the Asian cultivated rice.

The QTLs are reported to be capable of increasing the yield level by 17-20%. Incidentally, Chineese claim to have raised the genetic yield level by 30% of already higher yielding new plant type varieties by incorporating the new yield QTLs by conventional recombination breeding.

This conviction prompted scientist all over to search for new yield genes through use of molecular marker assisted QTL technique. The interest has led in a short span of few years to mapping of seventy yield related QTLs to start with. Closely following Indian scientist working with an exotic accession of Oryza rufipogon and a primitive cultivar from one of the centers of rice diversity have discovered as many as 60 QTLs relating to yield and its major direct and indirect components. Among them some of the QTLs relating to biomass, harvest index, grain yield per se explaining high percentage phenotypic variance appear quite promising.

Therefore, research efforts should be made to characterize and use of such QTLs for stepping up further the genetic yield level in rice.

          Use of African cultivated rice (O.glaberrima) for improvement of yield and tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses:

The African cultivated rice has many unique traits like weed competitiveness, drought tolerance, sub-mergence tolerance, salt tolerance and tolerance to iron and aluminum toxicity. Besides such abiotic stress tolerance these rices also show tolerance to many biotic stresses like blast, sheath blight, stem borer and hispa.

These traits have been recently combined with high yield of O.sativa to develop new rice for Africa (Nericas). The new rice varieties are high yielding, drought and pest tolerant and are adapted to various growing conditions in West Africa.

 The major limitations of combining desirable traits from both cultivated Oryza species are sexual incompatibility and hybrid sterility. The availability of molecular linkage map of O.glaberrima and molecular markers linked to sterility loci would help in the introgression of desirable traits from O.glaberrima to O.sativa.

The use of O.glaberrima in rice breeding is more challenging but promising and which will widen the genetic base of asian rice for obtaining higher yields under adverse conditions.

          Genetic yield enhancement, production, marketing, popularization and promotion of short  grain aromtic rice for economic developments of rural poor: 

          Production, evaluation and dissemination of gene pyramided lines for  further improvement of yield:

Many gene pyramided lines have been developed and evaluated in the national net-work of testing. These lines exhibit moderately high degree of tolerance to target pests and diseases but do not express a better yield improvement in rice. It is therefore, suggested to disseminate these valuable material for further genetic enhancement of yield through conventional method of breeding.  

  • Genetic enhancement of low land rice for higher yield and tolerance to submergence and stagnant flooding

Submergence tolerance is largely controlled by the Sub1 gene. The identification of the precise gene underlying tolerance has enabled the detailed manipulation of this gene in MAS schemes. Through a marker-assisted backcrossing (MAB) approach, this gene is successfully  transferred rapidly into mega varieties. The effects of Sub1 on plant survival under submergence are dramatic and the results at IRRI show that Sub1 varieties give an average of 12 tons higher yield than non-Sub1 types under 1217 days of complete submergence. In some cases, Sub1 varieties can give a near normal yield whereas intolerant varieties are completely destroyed. The advantages of Sub1 varieties have been verified in India and Bangladesh through the testing of Swarna-Sub1

One of the deficiencies of the existing Sub1 mega varieties is that they are mostly short statured and are not highly tolerant of longer duration “stagnant” or partial flooding. With the identification of varieties that are adapted to these conditions, the Sub1 gene can be combined with tolerance of stagnant flooding through aggressive conventional breeding and this will greatly extend the adoption and yield of submergence-tolerant varieties.

In addition, tolerance of submergence during germination is a desirable feature where rice is sown directly instead of transplanted. Sources of tolerance will be identified and the QTLs will be transferred into improved varieties, along with the Sub1 gene.

  • Development of rice varieties suitable for coastal flood prone saline areas:

Donors for salt tolerance and tolerant landraces like Kamini, Rahspanjari,    Langalmutha, Talmugra, Marisaland, Orumundakan were routinely used in the past for breeding high-yielding salt-tolerant lines, but the level of tolerance attained by the new lines is always below that of the donors and the existing tolerant varieties seem to be superior only in few tolerance traits.

Combining superior alleles of these traits could result in higher tolerance, a task difficult to achieve through conventional methods. Therefore the aim to identify donors of superior tolerance mechanisms, and develop and use DNA markers to combine underlying QTLs / genes into varieties and breeding lines adapted to target areas. Mapping studies identified QTLs associated with salinity tolerance in rice. A major QTL, designated Saltol, mapped on chromosome 1 explains most of the variation in salt uptake.

Recently, a MAB system is being developed for its incorporation into popular varieties. Additional QTLs with relatively large effects were also mapped on other chromosomes and at least two of them will be targeted for fine-mapping and development of a MAB system for their pyramiding with Saltol for higher tolerance.

Mapping populations should be developed to identify QTLs associated with tolerance during the reproductive stage. Multiple abiotic stresses should be achieved by the incorporation of several QTLs and genes for tolerance. Examples are salinity and submergence in coastal areas and iron toxicity and salinity in most acid soils.

Efforts should be made for pyramiding QTLs with multiple tolerances in the same recurrent parents to develop more resilient varieties for wider adaptation and the products of these efforts meet farmers' needs. Materials developed through these efforts will be packaged with the best management strategies for salt-affected soils, and should be evaluated in target areas.

From the foregoing discussion it is clear that rice varietal improvement programmes could be enhanced through Integration of conventional and innovative molecular approaches for raising the ceiling to genetic yield level should concentrate on the development of rice varieties with :

  • High yield potential and greater yield stability (from present level of 10 t/ha to 12 t/ha)
  • Shorter growth duration (125-135 days due to limited availability of irrigated water and changing labour patterns)
  • Mmultiple disease and insect resistance (BLB, Sh.rot, Sh.blight and stem borer, BPH, WBPH, Leaf folder)
  • Superior grain quality (long or medium slender translucent grains, higher milling and head rice recovery percentage, with intermediate amylose content and gelatinization temperature)
  • Tolerance to abiotic stresses and soil problems ( submergence and stagnant flooding, anaerobic germination, salinity or alkalinity, zinc and sulphur deficiency, iron and boron toxicity)
  • Development of rice varieties with high yield, multiple resistance to both biotic and abiotic stresses and it is also suggested to develop varieties  with  nutritional enrichment through transgenic approach.