How Organica Biotech Helped Rice Farmers Escape Rice Blast and Improve Their Yield by 75%

rice production

Rice is the staple food of over half the world’s population and is cultivated over a global area of 165 million hectares.

Therefore, crop failures and lowering productivity due to climate change pose a looming threat of starvation and food security, especially in developing countries. 

By 2050, the world will have to feed more than 10 billion human beings. Organica Biotech has recognized this challenge, and devised sustainable strategies to address the problems that plague rice agriculture sector today.

As part of our Corporate Social Responsibility, we have worked closely with the tribal farmers of Madhya Pradesh in an effort to improve their rice yield and secure a better future for them. 

Doubling Basmati Farmers’ income in drought stricken Madhya Pradesh

In 2017, Organica Biotech Pvt Ltd. initiated trials on Basmati grown organically in Mandala, Kotma and Dindori districts of Madhya Pradesh, a state in central India. These trials were carried out with the support of Action for Social Advancement (ASA),an NGO operating primarily in Madhya Pradesh. 

The objective of the project initiated by Organica Biotech Pvt. Ltd. was to 

  1. To provide a natural, organic, holistic, cost effective, sustainable solution to boost the fertility and improve yields for rice cultivation in Madhya Pradesh 
  2. To alleviate stress on crops caused by biotic & abiotic factors 
  3. To improve the socio-economic status of the farmer by improving crop productivity

Why Basmati?

Basmati rice is unique among other aromatic long grain rice varieties. Agro- climatic conditions of the specific geographical area as well as method of harvesting, processing and aging attribute these characteristic features to Basmati rice.

Owing to its unique characteristics the “scented Pearl” lends a touch of class that can transform even the most ordinary meal into a gourmet’s delight. Due to its superior taste, aroma and quality, Basmati commands a selling rate head and shoulders above all other rice varieties in India today. This helps the financial growth of our farmers.

Nearly 20 plots growing PB1 and PS4 varieties were identified for the trials. All these plots were 100% rainfed. The farmers only used traditional organic methods for fertigation of their lands. 

Organica Biotech used two of its products namely Magic Gro Dripsol and Magic Gro Super for the trials. A tailor-made application schedule was designed and applied to these plots.

Madhya Pradesh faced a severe drought in 2017 that affected Basmati yields between 25% – 40%. To add to that, Basmati yields were susceptible to Rice blast which further impacted the crop. 

In the face of such adversity, plots treated with Magic Gro products showed extremely promising results.

rice production organic case study
Farmers transplanting rice into ploughed fields

Magic Gro Application Schedule

We worked with 20 farmers growing PB1 and PS4 basmati varieties.  All these plots were 100% rainfed. The farmers only used traditional organic methods for fertigation of their lands.. A tailor-made application schedule was designed and applied to these plots.

The Magic Gro Application schedule for paddy was as follows:

Timeline Application Dosage
Day 0 Sowing
Day 12-15 post sowing Transplantation from nursery to field
Day 17-20 post sowing 1st application of Magic Gro Dripsol

(Drenching)

250 gms/acre
Day 65-70 2nd application of Magic Gro Super(Foliar) 250 gms/acre
Day 90-95 post sowing 3rd application of Magic Gro Super(Foliar) 250 gms/acre
Day 135-140 Harvest

 

Challenged by Extreme Weather conditions

During the vegetative stage of growth, our farmers witnessed one of the worst droughts to hit the region in over a decade. This coupled with severe heat spelled disaster in terms of yields for the farmers. Such severe abiotic stress also causes increased susceptibility to pests and diseases.

In this case, it was a rice blast. Despite such extreme weather conditions, plots treated with our product schedule showed dramatic alleviation of drought stress and significant yields as compared to the untreated plots sown with the same varieties.

Results:

Effect of Magic Gro on Tiller Formation :

Across all 2 varieties, the increase in number of tillers was found to be between 25-40%. This was a positive indication in terms of increasing productivity as an increase in number of tillers directly reflects increase in number of grain bearing panicles 

Varieties Number of Tillers in Treated plant Number of Tillers in Untreated plant Percentage increase in Tiller formation
PB1 14 10 38.00%
PS4 14 11 25.00%

 

Increase in total filled grain weight per panicle 

In the parameters studied, the total filled grains per panicle were studied in both the treated plants and non treated plants. The total number of grains per panicle also increase by upto 16 %

Varieties Number of Filled grains per panicle in treated plant Number of Filled grains per panicle in untreated plant % increase in filled grains per panicle
PB 1 145 129 12.40%
PS 4 136 117 16.20%

 

Harvest collected per acre 

Weight of grains harvested per acre was 72% and 50% more in the treated plots of PB1 and PS4 varieties respectively in comparison with untreated plots.

Varieties Weight of grains harvested per acre in treated plot (quintals) Weight of grains harvested per acre untreated plot (quintals) Percentage increase in weight of grains harvested per acre
PB1 13.79 8 72.00%
PS4 15.53 10 50.00%

 

Economic Benefit achieved:

Varieties Economic benefit per acre in treated plot (Gross income in rupees) Economic benefit per acre in untreated plot

(Gross income in Rupees)

Percentage increase in Economic benefit per acre (%)
PB1 26214 15221 72.00%
PS4 34180 22074 54.00%

 

Varieties Published Average productivity (Quintals/

acre)

Productivity of Treated Plot (Quintals/

acre)

Productivity of control plot (quintals/

acre)

% increase in income
PB1 14 13.79 8 117.00%
PS4 14 15.53 10 68%

The yield from the treated plots were in line with the published yield without any additional inputs. On the other hand, the yields from the untreated plots dropped between 30-50% when compared to the published yield.

Alleviation Of Fungal Disease ‘Rice Blast’:

Rice blast is by far the most important disease of the many diseases that attack rice.  It is found wherever rice is grown, it is always important, and it is always a threat.

The challenge for research continues to be to produce high quality food, in ever-increasing amounts at a lower cost, all while in the presence of an unforgiving and unrelenting pathogen. All of the plant disease management strategies and techniques that have been generated through research have been brought to bear against rice blast, but often with limited success.

During this trial, nearly all the farmers who owned the untreated plots reported severe destruction of crops due to Rice Blast. However, the treated plots which were all neighbouring plots reported no damage by the disease due to improved plant vigour.

RICE QUALITY: 

  • The rice harvested was sent to Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology, Thanjavur for assessment of the quality parameters.
  • 41% decrease in broken rice kernel 
  • 100% increase in head rice yield 
  • 5% increase in cooked rice volume
  • Improvement in texture post cooking
  • LB ratio, amylose content, aroma and colour were all maintained as per standard
  • 40% increase in tiller formation 

Overall, the addition of the usage of Magic gro Drip SOL and Magic gro Super as part of the agronomic practices was a success. During transplantation, farmers observed that the survival rate post transplantation was increased in the treated plot. Although both the districts faced a drought period of nearly 20-25 days, an average of 50%-70% increase in productivity was observed in treated plots.

We have partnered with thousands of farmers across India and the world. Join hands with us to make a lasting impact on your Rice growing journey today.

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