ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Chhattisgarh : Cracks in the Rice Bowl

The region was once known for its rice varieties and good crop yields. Today, modernisation has resulted in a single-minded emphasis on new high yielding varieties and the neglect of indigenous diversity.

Bansi Yadav is perhaps a typical farmer in Chhattisgarh. He owns two acres and grows high yielding varieties (HYV) of rice. The returns are small and almost always he has to buy rice to meet his consumption needs. Like most farmers he is in debt and works for daily wages. Many years ago he used to grow a local variety called Gurmatia with fairly good results. “I cannot get the seeds of Gurmatia. I have to depend on what the government gives us.”

Chhattisgarh has often been dubbed rice bowl of Madhya Pradesh. Yet productivity is not very high and after the formation of the new Chhattisgarh state, the chief minister Ajit Jogi has been making repeated statements that “paddy is poverty”. There is going to be a new thrust on horticulture if the scientists at the Indira Gandhi Agricultural University(IGAU) at Labhandi, near Raipur, have their way.

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