Odisha Govt Targets To Cover 4 Lakh Hectare Under Rice Fallow Management In Rabi 2023-24

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government has set a target to cover 4 lakh hectare of farm land under its “Comprehensive Project on Rice Fallow Management” programme in financial year 2023-24.

Prem Chandra Chaudhary, Director of Agriculture and Food Production, held a review meeting with the implementing agencies on the progress of the programme. He stressed on making the programme transparent and time bound to achieve the target.

It was revealed at the meeting that over 2.85 lakh hectare (ha) have already been covered under the programme and the sowing of crops are under progress. The entire process is being digitised and documented, with monitoring mechanism using remote technologies.

The programme, which was implemented in approximately 70,000 ha across 30 districts in 2022-23 fiscal, aims at utilising the rice fallow areas for production of non-paddy crops, with a focus on pulses and oilseeds, thus bridging the deficit in these crops.

Of around 16 lakh ha of rice fallow land, 10 lakh ha have the potential to be utilised during the Rabi season for cultivating short-duration, less water requiring pulses and oilseeds.

For effective utilisation of the fallow land, the government has planned to expand interventions through a demonstration programme of pulses and oilseeds across the state. The crops include Green gram, Black gram, Field Pea, Bengal Gram, Lentil, Grass Pea, Mustard, and Sesamum.

Key objectives of the project include exploitation of residual soil moisture, increasing cropping intensity, up-scaling cultivation of pulses and oilseeds and enhancing food production with efficient water usage. It also targets the restoration of soil health and supplementing farmers’ livelihood and nutritional security.

The scheme’s implementation involves various stakeholders including Directorate of Agriculture and Food Production, CGIAR and other nationally reputed institutions, seeds and agri-inputs supplying agencies like OSSC, OAIC, NRRI, IICT and CBOs.

After MoUs were signed with five implementing agencies including IRRI Consortium, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), Krishi Vikas Sahakari Samiti (KVSS) and AFC India Limited for executing the project during Rabi 2023-24, the field-level activities have commenced.

As per approved interventions, necessary inputs such as quality seeds, bio-fertilizer, micro-nutrients, weedicides and IPM devices will be provided to farmers under the project to achieve higher productivity.

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