TEZPUR, Nov 24: A day-long programme on ‘Participatory Varietal Field Day of Rice Variety Cafeteria’ was organised by CSS-Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA) – Sonitpur, under the aegis of Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation (APART) project at Nagapathar Gaon, under Rangapara Development Block on Wednesday.
The rice crop cafeteria was set up in the field of farmer Albart Barda and is grown in a plot measuring 2 bighas. Ten selected stress-tolerant rice varieties (STRVs), premium quality rice (PQR), high yielding variety (HYV) and local varieties were grown for the live demonstrations of farmers where they can learn skills in different farm operations through evidence-based learnings, from land preparation to harvesting. Ten varieties of rice are grown in the plot of Albart Barda.
The programme started with a welcome address and introductory session by assistant block technology manager (ATM) of Rangapara Development Block, Hiranjit Pegu. Inaugurating the programme, research technician APART-IRRI , Sonitpur, Pankaj Baruah said, “Rice Varietal Cafeteria facilitate scientific evaluation and selection process of new varieties.”
He added that through this concept farmers and stakeholders are able to compare and select best varieties that have been identified as suitable for growing in their plots of land. The research technician also addressed the beneficiary and local farmers about the advantages of line transplanting and importance of farm mechanisation in the paddy fields in order to shift from traditional farming to commercial farming practice.
District agricultural officer, Sonitpur Pankaj Saikia extensively elaborated the importance of selecting rice varieties by the farmers themselves for their local environment which would ease researchers and breeders to develop varieties according to the choices of farmers of the region and thus explained the importance of conducting participatory varietal evaluation by establishing a rice varietal cafeteria. He said that the entire exercise from seed sowing to harvesting are closely monitored by the officers and officials of IRRI and ATMA teams timely.
SDAO cum nodal officer, APART of Sonitpur district Pranjal Sarmah described the evaluation process of the 10 rice varieties grown in the plot of Albart Barda and the ATM allotted voting cards to the farmer participants to vote for their desired varieties by observing the phenotypic characteristics of their interest.
The officers and officials present on the occasion also took part in the evaluation process of the rice varieties and expressed their scientific views on variety evaluation.
Pranjal Sarmah also briefed about different schemes of the Agriculture department. He also discussed in detail about the stress-tolerant rice varieties with the farmers.
District agriculture marketing coordinator, APART project – Sonitpur, Surav Srivastava addressed the beneficiaries and local farmers about the paddy procurement topic. He briefed about quality parameters of paddy, process of registering, informed them about the procurement agencies in the district, etc.
According to the official sources, IRRI is the ‘technical partner’ of the World Bank-funded APART project and CSS-ATMA is the implementing agency of the World Bank-funded APART project.
During the end part of the programme, beneficiary and local farmers expressed their feedback about the prolific programme and praised the knowledge that they gained during the programme. The day-long programme was attended by 30 farmers from the village. The programme ended with the vote of thanks by the district horticultural coordinator of APART project, Sonitpur, Seemanta Borah and media expert, District Agricultural Office, Bitupan Saikia.