Coastal low-lying plains are seasonal flood prone and area remains submerged for about four months (July – October) under water depths varying from 0.5-2.0 m due to the saucer shaped land forms, high rainfall (average 1500 mm) during southwest monsoon (June–September), poor drainage and slow disposal of accumulated water to the ocean. On the other hand, in post-flood period, land starts drying from December onwards, as a result without supplemental irrigation cropping is not possible.
ICAR-Indian Institute of Water management, Bhubaneswar recognized the importance of improving productivity of seasonal flood prone areas and developed an innovative crop and water management approach. By harvesting flood water of rainy season through specially designed water harvesting structures, provision of supplemental irrigation was made for growing rabi crops during post-flood period. With harvested flood water, deep water rice-fish integrated farming system was developed. The system includes deep water rice and aquatic crops during rainy season, rearing of fishes inside the water harvesting structures, cultivation of rabi rice and vegetables with the harvested water during post-flood dry season and growing of vegetables and short duration fruit crops on the dyke.
During flood period, cultivation practices of high yielding, water logging tolerant rice varieties (deep water rice) like ‘Hangseswari’, Saraswati and high value aquatic medicinal crop (Acorus calamas) were standardized. Through this innovative system, farmers are earning Rs. 80,000-90,000/- per hectare in flood prone ecosystem, which was earlier unproductive. Presently, about 150 farmers of Kanas and Satyabadi blocks of Puri district of Odisha adopted the deep water rice production in coastal flood prone areas.
The State Government has also come forward to implement the water harvesting structure and recommended farming system of ICAR-IIWM, Bhubaneswar. Presently, this climate resilient technology is included under NICRA (National Initiative for Climate Resilient Agriculture) plan of the Institute for further up-scaling.
(Source: ICAR-IIWM, Bhubaneshwar)