Friday, December 4, 2009

Amreli Junagadh City District News Gujarat India

Amreli farmer develops wilt resistant groundnut variety which matures early.

A bout of stem rot infestation that damaged his standing groundnut cultivation did not deter this 38-year-old farmer from Amreli City.

Progressive and innovative in his thoughts, Dhiraj Thummar used this failure to turnaround and fights back the infestations.

Thummar, thus, developed Dhiraj 101 a groundnut variety selected from the GG 20 variety which is not only resistant to wilt due to stem rot but goes a step further and matures faster.

For his innovation, Thummar also bagged a National Award by National Innovation Foundation (NIF) at 5th national biennial grassroots technological innovation and traditional knowledge awards 2009 at Delhi.

Dhiraj 101', once sown, flowers in 28 to 30 days and matures within 95-105 days. A 30-45 cm high and semi-spreading type of crop, it bears 35-40 pods per plant with a seed rate of 90-100 kg per hectare. "If sown at rate of 3,200-3,500 kg per hectare, the yield is higher than the locally cultivated varieties and so is the oil content once milled. It also performs well in an average monsoon and less irrigation conditions," says Thummar, a resident of Pipalag village in Amreli district, proudly.

Farmers of the region are known to have switched over from groundnut to BT cotton due to the decreasing yield in groundnut. Another major cause of switch is the disease of wilt, locally known as Sukado' which reduces yield substantially.

"In 2004, I had sown GG-20 groundnut variety. The whole crop got infested with stem rot disease resulting in wilting and almost complete crop failure. However, I identified a few plants that were not affected and realized that these may have some inherent property that makes them stem rot resistant, I harvested and kept the seeds of these plants separately and sew them in the following season. I continued this research by continuous screening for three consecutive years and finally got a produce which was stem rot and wilt resistant," explains Thummar.

NIF facilitated field trial of Dhiraj101' at the Oil Seed Research Station in Junagadh. The report from there confirms Thummar's claims.

"Soil conservation and crops that requires less irrigation is an urgent need for farmers to keep agriculture sustainable in changing climate condition,'' says Thummar. "The innovation is an important aspect for sustainable agriculture. Groundnut sowing also helps for better soil conservation. It is also considered good for animals."

Professor at Indian Institute of Management (Ahmedabad) and executive vice-chairperson of NIF Anil Gupta says, "Many technical innovations have been centered on groundnut crop in Saurashtra region. It's an urgent need to invent and popularize the crop varieties, which requires less water and more productivity in present perspective.''

Thummar has also distributed seeds to some farmers in Amreli District, Rajkot District and Bhavnagar districts and received positive feedback.

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