Clay pellet method of rice cultivation maximises yield
Farmers need not wait for monsoon to start sowing under this method
“In our culture, innovation is dubbed as craziness, but our success lies in identifying more 'crazy' people so that the innovation revolution can spread across the country. The present generation is fast losing out on scientific knowledge. In the last several years we are losing many such affordable scientific knowledge due to sheer neglect,” says Prof K. Anil Gupta, Vice Chairman, National Innovation Foundation, Ahmedabad.
Lack of support
“Funds crunch, lack of adequate assistance from government officials and private sector firms, and lack of awareness among people are the main deterrents in identifying such rural innovations as a national movement,” adds Prof Anil, who calls for considerable more interest from science and technology institutions in validating, value adding in people-driven knowledge and innovations.
Besides being cost-effective and eco-friendly, these potential scientific discoveries need to be commercialised and even exported, adds Prof Anil.
Source of idea
Take the example of a simple farmer Ram Abhilash Patel from Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh. Mr. Ram developed a concept of sowing paddy seeds inserted in clay pellets. The farmer claims that he got this idea from within the household.
“I noticed that children made clay pellets for playing and used to throw them away. Suddenly during monsoon, I used to notice a small seedling growing from the wet pellet.
“This inspired me to try using the same method for growing paddy,” he explains.
Finding the right kind of clay soil posed a problem. Other soil types tend to break under pressure while pushing the paddy seeds into them.
The seeds can be easily inserted inside clay and remain safe during sowing and later germinate well.
Pond or river soil is mixed thoroughly with 3-4 paddy seeds to make small balls of pellets. The pellets are made during April - May and dry within 2-3 hours.
“Pond soil is very fertile and helps in minimizing weeds,” explains Mr. Patel. The farmer is practising this method for the last 15 years and impressed by it, many others in the region are doing the same.
“The pellets can be sown manually or by using a seed drill. Rows are made facing east to west or vice-versa so that the germinating plant gets ample air and sunlight. This method saves both time and money and the need to prepare a nursery for paddy plants does not arise,” he says.
By adopting the conventional nursery method, paddy crops take approximately 160 days to mature while using this technique it takes only about 145 days.
Waiting time reduced
Farmers need not wait for monsoon to start sowing under this method. As pond/ river soil, is fertile, the dependence on fertilizers is reduced and as the seeds are in a mud shell they are protected from birds etc. The process also saves water as no standing water is needed in the field.
“Most importantly, the output gets maximized by this method. Mr. Ram Abhilash proved experimentally by cultivating paddy in a field by all three methods namely pellet, nursery, and direct sowing. The paddy production using these methods was 1.7, 1.5 and 1.4 tonnes respectively,” says Prof Anil.
Though some products are being commercially manufactured and exported, there are millions of ideas such as Mr. Ram's, waiting for assistance in terms of funds, technical and design support.
For more details contact Mr. Ram Abhilash Patel, Vill. Tikari, Po. Kanti, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh 212107, Mobile: 08127199855.