Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Monsoon sets in; Rice cultivation in changing Farm scenario of Tripura.

Low Yield and Price but still Rice:

    There’s outcry for rice due to low unit production area and volatile market, fluctuation of price of rice etc. It is almost like loosing battle or loosing interest for rice farming. But, in reality farmers still stick to Rice cultivation and it seems to be the situation of compulsion for rice growing in Tripura.
     Many farmers know only rice, few may know the alternative to the Rice but land situation does not permit them to shift to other crops but to Rice. Rice being the single most dominant cereal crop in the state naturally commands its usual demand for staple need of the people. 
  The state’s total cultivable land is occupied by several crops but it is none other than the rice which constitutes lion share in terms of land occupation in a particular cropping season. There’s changing trend in farming, the change is in conformity with the changing pattern in the present set up of the rural environment.
   The change or transitional scenario in rice cultivation in the changing social-economical condition of rural household primarily farming community is really the matter of farming outlook.

 South-West Monsoon the Deciding Factor:- 

  There’s no doubt that, it’s Rain God, farmers depend for and rely for their cropping endeavor. Having suffered days of intolerable heat/temperature and heat wave, south-west monsoon has finally arrived in the state in the June, 2012.
  With the arrival of south west monsoon, there’s a sense of relieve for all and farmers woe for rain have changed and they become active to utilize the monsoon for Khariff crops.
   Khariff is the main cropping season; mainly because, most of the cultivable lands available in the state are yet to be brought under assured irrigation. Of course, it is not reality too to bring all the cultivable area under assured irrigation.       
  Therefore, it is the objective of the farmers to utilize the monsoon rain most effectively and efficiently. What farmers really want is; farming operation starting from field preparation to the sowing/planting completes within available monsoon season.
    Another fact is; rice being demanding more water naturally creates lot of worries to the farmers.
    In case of rice, it is high time for field preparation, nursery bed preparation, raising seedling and transplanting of rice seedling in the sufficient water level as a result of rainfall. However, most concerning part is changing scenario in Rice cultivation; for that matter, it is same for all farming endeavor. 

Changes in Farm operation:- 

    There’s lot of change in farm operation, these changes are due to circumstantial changes in the rural Tripura. Now, there’s no positive trends as far as maintaining livestock especially cattle.
   What farmers clarify for this is due to lack of fodder or pastoral land which ultimately affects in availability of drought animal. Lack of sufficient drought animals has affected timely field preparation through bullock pulled plough. 
   This situation has led to the augmentation for other alternative and, the new found alternative is Power Tiller. But, again, there’s shortage of Power Tiller or power tiller requirement is less than sufficient. There’s no doubt that it is the power tiller which is tilling the farmers’ field.
   But, is it affordable and available in all farming condition? It is absolutely no; there’s is disparity in terms of total required power tiller as mentioned and it is due to the fact that many small land holding farmers are not able to afford to have owned the power tiller. Small land holding farms have no option but to take the rent of power tiller in per hour basis which is quite high at present. 
    Non-availability of sufficient numbers of animal and mechanical power for tilling the land or farm field operation has resulted negatively in the rice farming of the state. It is because; all these have enhanced the total cost of production of rice which subsequently pushed the farmers in the loss making farming enterprise. 
  There’s also another trends that is observed in the farming areas, few farmers who could afford to maintain few pairs of bullocks is taking the opportunity by hiring their animal power in steep cost.
   Here, also farmers who have no option but choose bullock had to face the severe monetary problem which affected in total cost of cultivation of the given crop. But to carry on with the existing available resources farmers have no but to feel heartfelt agony that starts from field preparation to harvesting of the crop. 

Farm Labor Crisis:-  

      There are also changes in the man power availability in farm sector, there’s shortage of cheap farm labor. Wages for the men and women farm laborers have significantly increased over a period of time.
      Even in the increased wages also getting the farm labor becomes a cause of concern. This is affecting the timely field operation of farmers. Farm labor crisis has forced many farmers to decrease the cropping intensity to greater extent.
 The Possible Option of Enhancement:- 
      The main option left are:- 
      1. Increasing the production, productivity and profitability of the given crop through 
              a) Seed replacement 
             b) Adoption of high yielding verities 
             c) Adoption of Hybrid rice 
             d) Selection of branded varieties for market realization 
             e) Good agronomic practices
              f) SRI method
              g) Balance dose of fertilizer
              h) Farm based organic manure 
              i) Integrated pest management 
             2. Ensuring mechanization through 
              a) Power Tiller
              b) Rice Planter
               c) Rice Thrasher 
               d) Mechanical Weeder 
   The fact of the matter is; rice is going to stay even in the volatile condition of production, productivity and price because, rice is staple food, it is the primary cereal of the people. 
                                             Agritangkol Dated 04-07-2012

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