Trichy: A retired schoolteacher turned organic farmer in Perambalur has revived the cultivation of a traditional variety of paddy that has almost disappeared despite its ability to withstand drought and flooding. Having recently received a bountiful harvest of the rare breed ‘Kallimadaiyan’, Dr Varadharajan distributed the seeds to other farmers in the rain-fed villages to support the breed.
The retired public school teacher, 59, said he was successful in obtaining Kallimadaiyan seeds through a network of organic farmers. After cultivating the traditional breed on his 20 cents of land in the village of Nallur near Mangalamedu in September, Varadharajan finished harvesting in February and stored half of his yield in two bags to distribute to farmers as seeds.
As the end of August and the beginning of September mark the start of a new cycle of paddy (samba), the organic farmer distributed 150 kg of Kallimadaiyan to the farmers of Perambalur. With a cultivation cycle of 5.5 months, it requires less water and no chemical fertilizers or pesticides. “I only used panchakavya and peanut cake residue as fertilizer. So the cost of cultivation is only half of that incurred to grow hybrid varieties, ”Varadharajan told TOI.
The breed of rice he tried with success can reach heights of five feet and withstood heavy downpours. Varadharajan shared the seeds with 12 farmers dependent on an irrigation well. “We need to create local seed banks in the districts to promote such sharing of seeds among farmers so that seeds of rare traditional breeds are available. Kallimadaiyan was once widely cultivated in the Perambalur region, it’s time for a revival, ”said Ramesh Karuppiah, an environmentalist based in Perambalur. Once more and more farmers showed up to get started in its cultivation, Varadharajan said that a group of farmers can turn to value addition and market paddy in the subways by leveraging the demand. of organic paddy.