SRI paves way through India’s rising water scarcity

SRI (System of Rice Intensification) is a method of sowing and cultivating rice with minimum investment and maximum returns. This method supposedly saves 15-20% water and uses a minimal amount of seeds for cultivation. As the Punjab government focuses on DSR (Direct seeding of rice) technique in the state where several areas of the state lie in dark zones, it becomes of utmost importance to give priority to water saving techniques of farming, which nearly uses 90% of groundwater. As covered by various newspapers before, dark zones are areas demarcated by the government where overexploitation of groundwater is acute and withdrawal and usage of water exceeds its recharge. In India, several areas come under dark zones spreading across various states like Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. 

SRI involves cultivating rice sampling by providing adequate space to them in a square pattern with intercropping a weeder that oxygenates the soil. This method does not need flooding the farm as the traditional method but only keeping the soil moist. It also uses high amounts of organic manure and does not encourage the use of chemical fertilisers. SRI requires just 2kg rice per acre for cultivation in comparison to 20kg rice per acre for cultivating via traditional methods which automatically gives better yields. As covered by The Hindu, Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh used this method of cultivating rice successfully during the Kharif season and came up with better yields in the 2000s. But this method was not researched and taken notice of in other states. 

As major areas of various states lie in dark zones, it becomes necessary for the government and the people to think of an alternative that uses less water and gives better yield. Not to forget, as depleting groundwater and its subsequent poisoning is a matter of alarming concern for various farmers, availing that amount of water for cultivation puts the farmers at a huge economical risk. It also puts the consumers and the quality of rice at risk which may put the health of the country at stake. Not to forget, groundwater is also a source of clean drinking water for lakhs of people in the nation that is in a critical state. As the government incorporates initiatives like Kisan Drones for the farmers, the people look towards them with optimism hoping for better alternatives and farming techniques invested with great research.

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