Farmers, who almost gave up cultivation after the groundwater became saline in several parts in the district, received a ray of hope of resuming farming as the district administration and the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) have introduced Magnetic Water Technology (MWT) to reduce the salinity in the water and increase productivity.
In a first of its kind initiative in the state, farmers in three blocks had successfully demonstrated the technology and set the stage for their colleagues to follow suit. A postgraduate in agriculture (soil science and agriculture chemistry), Collector J. Jayakanthan studied the technology when farmers, in the monthly grievance redressal meeting in April last, complained about the salinity and the problems in continuing cultivation.
The Collector, who introduced the technology after consulting Prof S. Sendur Kumaran, Head, KVK, Kundrakudi, said he was delighted that the technology helped to reduce the salinity level and enhance soil health.
“We want to take the technology to farmers in other blocks and extend the area of cultivation,” Mr Jayakanthan told.
Kanniappan, a farmer at Lakshmipuram in Ilayankudi block, who gave up paddy cultivation after the yield was badly hit due to salinity, resumed cultivation, using the MWT technology and grown healthy crops. The farmer has cultivated paddy on 50 cents and the crop, which reached the panicle initiation stage, looked healthy, the Collector said after visiting the field recently.
A farmer at Soorankottai had harvested 32 bags of paddy per acre after using the technology, he said. Similarly, a farmer in Thamarakki had cultivated chillies with enhanced pungency and yield, the Collector said, adding farmers in other blocks could approach the district administration for necessary guidance and support, he added.
Mr. Kumaran said though the district had good groundwater potential, farmers turned reluctant in cultivation because of the salinity. He said tests conducted in Sivaganga, Ilayankudi and Kalayarkoil blocks, covering 26,000 hectares of cultivable lands, revealed that the groundwater was worst affected with varied degrees of EC (electrical conductivity) ranging from 4.5 to 7.2 dS/m, not suitable for cultivation.
The salinity could be reduced to permissible level by installing ‘cylindrical magnet’ (6,000 Frequency) at the delivery point in the bore well pipe at the cost of about ₹ 20,000, he said. Farmers could doubly benefit as the magnetic technology separated sodium chloride into sodium and chloride on the one side and increased uptake of minerals, compounds of soil such as nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and improved fertilisers dissolve in soil on the other, he said.