Coastal flood prone and waterlogged areas of Odisha remain unproductive during rainy season. The reasons behind it are the saucer shaped land, heavy rainfall and poor drainage system of the region. It has been surveyed that an estimated depth of 0.5-2.0 m surface water accumulates in these areas during June to September. On the other hand, gradually, land becomes drier from the month of December onwards after receding flood water. Thus, successful agriculture is not possible during post-flood period also without supplemental irrigation. Thus coastal flood prone and seasonal waterlogged areas of Orissa like Puri, Kendrapara, Balasore, Jagatsinghpur suffers from twin problems, excess water in rainy season and deficit water in winter/summer season.
For successful utilisation of accumulated flood water in agriculture purpose, Scientists of Indian Institute of Water Management, a unit of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR-IIWM) have developed innovative technologies of crop and water management which can enhance the productivity of coastal seasonal waterlogged and flood prone areas which represents 3.7 mha areas of eastern India (deep water, 0-0.5m depth and very deep, >1m depth). Through pond-based farming system of proper design farmers can cultivate deep water rice, waterlogging tolerant medicinal plant like Bach (Calamas) vegetables on the dyke of the pond and fish inside the ponds during rainy season and salt tolerant vegetables such as ladies finger, water melon, chilly and spinach and boro rice during winter/dry season utilizing harvested water of rainy season inside the pond. Presently on pilot-scale 14 units of the pond based farming have been implemented by ICAR-IIWM, Bhubaneswar in Satyabadi block and 4 units in Kanas block which are found to be profitable and sustainable and now success story of the state.
To explore the possibility of scaling-up of the technologies and to enhance productivity of coastal flood prone and waterlogged area, a field day was organised on 18.4.2015 by ICAR-IIWM, Bhubaneswar at Alisha village, Sukal G.P., Satyabadi, Puri. The field day was presided by Dr S.K.Ambast, Director, ICAR-IIWM, Bhubaneswar and the Collector, Puri, Shri Aravind Agrawal was the chief guest on the occasion. In the beginning Collector, Shri Aravind Agrawal interacted with the farmers and visualised the live demonstration of the pond based farming technology developed by ICAR-IIWM, Bhubaneswar which was designed for waterlogged areas. After interacting with the farmers he had convinced with the profitability and suitability of the technology and urged the agricultural officers of the Puri district to scale up technology on large scale through different government schemes. The collector, Shri Agrawal also stressed crop diversification with low water requiring crops to cover more area under double cropping. He also emphasized to maintain water quality of the village through proper rural sanitation system and assured farmers for possible assistance from district administration.
Director, ICAR-IIWM, Bhubaneswar, Dr. S.K. Ambast shared different technology models with the farmers, designed for different ecosystems in different parts of the country. He emphasized to adopt the viable and sustainable technology on large scale and also shared some success stories which helped to enhance socio-economic conditions of the farmers in other waterlogged and saline areas of the country. He also stressed the pond based farming system is the best solution to divert the flood water to ponds during rainy season and utilized it during winter/dry season. Fishes, poultry, duckeries and short duration horticulture on the dyke will give the best returns too through the system. Of the total field of a farmer, up to 15-30% of waterlogged land (depending upon the purpose) can be converted to water harvesting pond to store rainwater, rest can be utilised for intensive crop cultivation with the harvest water. Adopted farmers of the technology are currently earning upto about 1.0 lakh/ha at Alisha village, Satyabadi block, Puri, Dr. Ambast added.
In that field day Dr. Gouranga Kar, Principal Scientist, ICAR-IIWM who had been associated with project since its inception during 2004-05 and principal investigator of the project briefed about the background and mode of implementation of the project by ICAR-IIWM about a decade back and stress the need of up-scaling the technology owing to its viability in seasonal waterlogged and coastal; flood prone areas. At the beginning of the field day Dr Kar, demonstrated the pond based technology in different farmers' field and discussed some issues to implement the technology on large scale. Besides, enhancing productivity the technology has potential to develop climate resilient agriculture, Dr Kar added.
Dr. S. Roy Chowdhury, Principal Scientist and programme leader, Waterlogged Area Management group of ICAR-IIWM, Bhubaneswar shared some viable technological options developed by ICAR-IIWM, Bhubaneswar. On that occasion, Block Development Office, Satyabadi, Dr Badal Kumar Mohanty was present and encouraged the farmers to adopt the technology on large scale. He also assured to assist farmers in all possible manners through different government schemes. Er. Sarat Ch. Sahoo, S.D.O., Irrigation department, Sakhigopal block discussed some canal water management issues so that farmers get assured irrigation water during peak crop growth period even during rabi season.
On the occasion District Agricultural Officer, Shri Bijay Ketan Sahoo, DAO Sakhigopal discussed some crop management issues to be implemented in waterlogged areas. Dr. S.Roy Chowdhury, Principal Scientist, ICAR-IIWM gave vote of thanks.