Students join to cultivate organic rice

Patna: Students from the Jesuit run St. Xavier’s College of Management and Technology braved the rain and joined the cultivation of Organic Rice at Tarumitra Bio-reserve this afternoon.

They congregated as a volunteer force to explore the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) method at Tarumitra, a 1000 kilometres away from Delhi.

Boys and girls vied with one another to plant as many tender seedlings as possible on the specially prepared soil. Earlier students from the schools had, as preparation of the soil, deposited hundreds of sacks of dry leaves as organic fertilizer on the land.

Tarumitra students have been engaged in Organic Farming from 2011. After cultivating a wide array of genetically indigenous seeds, the students have located a short statured rice similar to dwarf Monsoori which has yielded optimum results. This short statured rice needs less water and do not collapse in rains and heavy winds.

One of the participating students, Preeti said that it was her first experience on a rice farm. The college students’ president, scholastic Uday Kumar said, “ The pesticide ridden green revolution in Punjab resulted in a train called Cancer Express that runs between Bhatinda and Bikaner every day. We can bypass the Punjab experience in Bihar if we invest into Organic Cultivation.”

“We will never forget doing chap chap in the mud! said, Aishwarya from the same college.

The SRI method yielded very good results last year. It may be mentioned that the French Jesuit educationist, Fr. Henri de Laulanie was responsible for developing the rice cultivation method known as the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) which he started in Madagascar in the eighties. The Cornell University, USA later adapted it to the present form that is practised by farmers all over Asia. In SRI method, Rice plants should be planted singly and spaced optimally wide to permit more growth of roots and canopy and to keep all leaves photosynthetically active.

Present also were SRI specialist, Margaret Molomoo, Anjali, D.N Prasad and Robert Athickal SJ.

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