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Research on calamity resistant practices could be a boon for Odisha rice farmers

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Reported by Santosh Jagdev

Bhubaneswar, June 3:

Farmers in Odisha could soon have a way of saving their paddy crop from the vagaries of natural calamities, which have been frequent visitors to the state.

paddy crop

A team from the University of Southampton is currently engaged in research work in Odisha looking for agricultural practices that enable rice farmers to recover most quickly from cyclones and floods.

The research will use data from satellites to identify which rice fields survived and thrived even after major cyclones and floods over the past 10 years along the coast of Odisha. The information will be collated with information gathered from households to identify the farming practices that made it possible.

This research will identify which farmers were able to recover most quickly, and why.

Such success stories and good practices, coupled with the successes of the state in saving lives and livelihoods, were discussed at a workshop organised by the research project here today. Various stakeholders, including academics, researchers, government department and NGOs, participated in the workshop.

Among the host of issues discussed at the workshop were a comprehensive agricultural policy that factors in the effects of climate change and natural disasters, preservation of traditional seeds, development of salt and submergence tolerant rice variety, innovative crop management practices, capacity development at village level and changes in land use practice.

“Our project should help the Odisha Government identify and target areas with the lowest resilience to floods and storms,” Project lead Dr Jadunandan Dash said.

Co-leader of the project, Dr Emma Tompkins said Odisha should take the lead in sharing its success in saving lives and livelihoods during natural disasters. “Odisha should set an example on how to develop a long-term strategy for saving the livelihood of farmers. The lessons learned in Odisha could provide guidance for rice farmers around the world become more resilient to floods and storms”.