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Sahyadri megha - Shanmugam IAS academy in coimbatore
Sahyadri megha

SAHYADRI MEGHA

What’s in news?

As part of its initiative to prevent decline in the area under paddy cultivation, the University of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences (UAHS), Shivamogga, has developed ‘Sahyadri Megha’, a new red variety of paddy that is resistant to blast disease and rich in nutrients.

Background:

  • Paddy growers are switching over to commercial crops like arecanut, ginger and rubber for lucrative returns.
  • The area under paddy that was around 1.5 lakh hectares in Shivamogga district in 1990, has come down to around 1.05 lakh hectares.
  • The ‘Jyothi’ variety which is widely cultivated in the command areas of the Bhadra and the Tunga reservoirs and in semi-arid areas in Sorab, Shikaripur, Hanagal and Sirsi taluks in Karnataka has become vulnerable to blast disease and other infestations. There was a demand for a new paddy variety that is resistant to the infestations.
  • Demand by customers in urban areas for red rice which is rich in fibre and protein is also a reason behind developing the new variety.
  • The red variety gets its rich colour from an antioxidant called anthocyanins, which are also found in deep purple or reddish fruits and vegetables.
  • The compound is believed to have properties that can reduce inflammation, allergy, prevent risks of cancer and help in weight management.

Key data’s:

  • The new variety has been approved by the State-level Seed Sub-Committee and it will be available for farmers from the coming kharif season.
  • ‘Sahyadri Megha’ is developed under the hybridization breeding method by cross-breeding the best among the ‘Jyothi’ variety with that of ‘Akkalu’, a native disease-resistant and protein-rich paddy variety.
  • The results of the field trials conducted in Shivamogga, Chikkamagaluru, and Davangere districts have proved that the new variety has a high-level of resistance to blast disease.
  • The new variety will be notified under the Indian Seed Act 1966 shortly after which it will become part of the seed chain.

Features:

  • Protein content is 12.48%, which is higher than the other red rice varieties grown.
  • It can be harvested after 120 days of sowing, it is a medium-term paddy that can be grown when there is a delay in the onset of monsoon.
  • It has distinct aroma and taste.
  • The yield per hectare from ‘Sahyadri Megha’ is around 65 quintals, substantially higher than other red paddy varieties.

Blast Disease:

  • It is caused by fungus Pyricularia grisea (P. oryzae).
  • Also known as rotten neck or rice fever.
  • First recorded in India during 1918.
  • Expected grain loss: 70 to 80%.

Links to note:

https://www.iasipstnpsc.in/cauvery-delta/

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/uahs-develops-new-paddy-variety-resistant-to-blast-disease/article31015990.ece

http://agropedia.iitk.ac.in/content/recommended-paddy-varieties-karnataka-state

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