ICAR to grow rice varieties on saline land stretches in Goa

Scientists at ICAR are exploring the possibility of using saline `Khazan` lands in Goa to grow rice.

Updated: May 12, 2011, 12:01 PM IST

Panaji: Scientists at Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR) are now exploring the possibility of using saline `Khazan` lands in coastal Goa to grow high
yield rice varieties, a senior official said here today.

ICAR researchers are drawing lessons from neighbouringMaharashtra where Khazan land research station is doing yeoman`s job in this field.

The `Khazans` are saline floodplains along Goa`s tidalestuaries, which have been reclaimed over centuries by constructing intricate system of dykes and sluice gates.

ICAR Goa Director Dr N P Singh said that rice varieties like ? Amalmana SR-26-B and CST 7-1 (Kolkata varieties), three varieties of Panvel rice, Vattila and Lunishree (Cuttack varieties) and the Jarwa of Port Blair, will be experimented
in these saline land stretches.

The researchers feel the inundation of these lands have been a major constraint for production of rice varieties.

These land masses lying adjacent to the estuaries get inundated with sea water during high tide or in monsoon season, reducing their fertility.

"Major portion of Khazan land where rice is grown is submerged in water for almost two months making it difficult to cultivate other types of rice. Therefore only local
varieties are grown as its height of one meter survives in the submerged field unlike other varieties," Singh explained.

As per statistics, of the total 96,000 hectares under coastal saline soils in the Konkan region, 18,000 hectare falls in Goa region of which only 10,000 hectare is fertile
for rice cultivation whereas remaining 8,000 hectare is unproductive for any type of cultivation.

Singh said the ICAR will have a pilot project in Khazan land before going for mass production. The institute has already ordered for the rice seeds, which has a high yield.

ICAR is also working on damming Khazan lands from the sea or creek waters by constructing embankments. The proposal has been apparently discussed with the Goa government that could protect the salt affected soil from being submerged any