Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR) is now exploring the possibility of using Goa’s saline khazan lands to grow highly productive varieties of rice.
khazans are saline floodplains along Goa’s tidal estuaries, which have been reclaimed over centuries by constructing an intricate system of bunds (dykes) and sluice gates.
ICAR Goa Director Dr N P Singh informed that different varieties of rice — Amalmana SR-26-B and CST 7-1 (Kolkata varieties), three varieties of Panvel rice, Vattila and Lunishree (Cuttack varieties) and Jarwa of Port Blair, will be experimented in these saline land stretches.
ICAR researchers are presently taking lessons from neighbouring state of Maharashtra where Khazan Land Research Station is doing yeoman’s job in this field.
The researchers feel that inundation of these lands in the water 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 one metre height survives in the submerged field unlike other varieties,” Singh explained.
Statistics reveal that of the total 96,000 hectares under coastal saline soils in the Konkan region, 18,000 hectare falls in Goa out of which 10,000 hectare is fertile for cultivating rice whereas remaining 8,000 hectares is unproductive.
Singh said that 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.