Kashmir based Orchardly’s collaborative trials with Verdasian Life Sciences, USA show remarkable results
Srinagar: In a groundbreaking collaboration between Orchardly, a Kashmir-based agritech startup, and Verdasian Life Sciences, USA, a series of rice trials aimed at boosting yield have yielded remarkable results. Led by Dr. MY Zargar, former Director of Research at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST), the trials were conducted in three locations across Pulwama and Anantnag districts in Kashmir. The trials led to remarkable results with better tillering, grain filling and panicle size of the crop.
The central focus of these trials was the integration of cutting-edge agricultural practices, using specially developed rice varieties, and integrated nutrient management. The team employed the expertise of agronomy specialists from Orchardly, working in tandem with Dr. Zargar to implement these novel techniques.
The trials were conducted with SR-4 and SR-5 varieties, both developed by the Mountain Research Centre for Field Crops (MRCFC) at Khudwani, a part of SKUAST-K. Shalimar Rice-4, known for its adaptability to the plains and mid-altitude areas of the Kashmir Valley, boasts impressive attributes including high yield potential, superior grain quality, increased head rice recovery, excellent cooking characteristics, early maturity, and moderate resistance against blast disease. This variety exhibits tolerance to low temperatures during the seedling stage. Conversely, Shalimar Rice-5 thrives in higher altitudes characterized by shorter growing seasons, low atmospheric temperatures, cold irrigation water, and limited solar radiation, factors that traditionally hinder crop production.
The trials, conducted in collaboration with local farmers, encompassed a comprehensive approach. This included meticulous seed treatment, nursery management & treatment, and advanced field nutrition practices. The products used for the trials came from Verdasian Life Sciences, USA, a pioneering organization renowned for its commitment to sustainable farming practices and cutting-edge agricultural solutions.
Ehsan Quddusi, CEO of Orchardly, expressed his enthusiasm about the outcomes, saying, “The results from these trials are remarkable. We have been able to increase the yield per plant by around 100%, and the yield per tiller has surged from 70-90 grains to a staggering 180 grains. These findings mark a turning point for rice cultivation in the region.”
Dr. MY Zargar, the research lead, commented on the successful adoption of integrated solutions from Verdasian Life Sciences, stating, “With these results, we are encouraged to introduce these products and practices to all the rice growers of our region. This is a significant step towards enhancing the livelihoods of our farmers and ensuring food security.”
As the world grapples with the challenge of feeding a growing population, rice stands as one of the most vital and widely cultivated crops globally. India, being the second-largest producer of rice after China, plays a pivotal role in global rice production. However, the need to enhance yields and ensure food security is a pressing concern, not only for India but for the world at large.
With changing environmental conditions, shrinking agricultural land, and evolving agricultural practices, the need for innovative solutions to increase rice yields and ensure sustainable farming practices has never been more crucial.
Orchardly now plans to extend its services to rice farmers, opening its platform to benefit even more growers in the region. They are also in the process of developing a comprehensive package of practices that integrates nutrition management and variety selection, aimed at further empowering farmers in the area.