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Over 4 Lakh Farmers in Bengal Benefit From Salt-Tolerant Paddy Production

The state government had introduced the ‘Krishak Bandhu’ (friends of farmers) scheme in January 2019 to provide financial assistance to all farmers for agricultural purposes and to provide social security to the farm families in the event of the untimely death of a cultivator.

Ayushi Raina
Farmers in Bengal Benefit From Salt-Tolerant Paddy Production
Farmers in Bengal Benefit From Salt-Tolerant Paddy Production

According to an official, the West Bengal government has assisted nearly four lakh farmers in Purba Medinipur, North and South 24 Parganas districts in producing a novel variety of salt-tolerant paddy to reduce the recurrent devastation of standing crops by salty floodwaters during natural catastrophes. 

This new rice variety, 'Nona Swarna,' cultivated on over 50,000 hectares across three districts, has temporarily assisted cultivators in mitigating the devastation caused by cyclones Amphan and Yaas, according to the official. 

When contacted, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's agriculture adviser Pradip Majumdar stated that the state has acquired the first mass-scale harvest of 'Nona Swarna' at a minimum support price of Rs.1950 per quintal for free distribution under public distribution schemes. 

This Kharif season, 2.7 lakh tonnes of this variety are expected to be produced, according to Majumdar. Under the 'Krishak Bandhu' scheme, the state government gave 1,290 metric tonnes of 'Nona Swarna' paddy seeds to farmers in North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, and Purba Medinipur in June. 

In January 2019, the state government introduced the 'Krishak Bandhu' (friends of farmers) scheme to give financial support to all farmers for agricultural purposes as well as social security to farm families in the event of the untimely death of a cultivator. 

The seeds were planted during the June-July Kharif season and were ready for harvest in November, according to Majumdar. 

In the Sunderbans, 12-16 salt-resistant varieties are being extensively examined in field trials, including one called 'Dudheswar.' Majumdar elaborated on the harvesting procedure for this new variety, saying, "The special variety of seed has been harvested in agricultural land in coastal areas which were inundated with salty water owing to flood during cyclones Amphan and Yaas." After the natural disaster, we pumped out the water to lessen the excessive salinity levels, and then the seeds were planted." Because water could not be drained out of all the fields, higher plots were chosen for sowing 'Nona Swarna' seeds, he said. 

The state agricultural department was directed by the chief minister to begin alternate techniques to assist farmers in growing paddy on fields flooded by salty water during cyclones. 

Two cyclones, Amphan in May 2020 and Yaas this May this year, have caused considerable damage to standing crops. 

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