Nalanda farmer accepts Chinese scientist’s challenge as rice production falls in 2012

Patna,(BiharTimes): Sumant Kumar of Darveshpura village in Nalanda district, who claims to have broken the world record in rice production in 2011, has accepted the challenge of Chinese expert Yuan Longping, known in his country as “the father of hybrid rice” and invited him to visit his farm and see for himself the yield per acre.

He is also ready to harvest the crop in the presence of experts so that questions are not raised about his achievement.

Agriculture scientists have doubted his claim as he failed to match the performance the following year, that is in 2012 when the production fell to something between 13 and 14 tonne per hectare from the world record of 22.4 tonnes per hectare the previous year. 

Incidentally this happened during a field inspection by a team of rice scientists, jointly drafted from the Central Rice Research Institute, Cuttack, and the Directorate of Rice Research, Rajendra Nagar near Hyderabad, which visited Darveshpura and adjoining villages in 2012.

Sumanta overtook the record set by Yuan Longping, whose claim was a yield of 19.4 tonnes per hectare the previous year.

Yuan, in a recent interview to Chinese Press, dubbed Sumat Kumar’s claim as “120 per cent fake”.

But the Nalanda farmer said that he was confident he could repeat his performance this year as well. “A team from China Central Television visited me today and asked me several questions regarding the farming techniques being used here for enhancing productivity of different crops. Through them, I have conveyed a message to Yuan to come to my village at the time of paddy harvesting,” he was quoted in The Telegraph as saying.

“If the weather remains favourable this year, I would break the record of the Chinese scientist once again,” he added.

He conceded that the productivity level of his field had suffered in 2012 owing to some personal problems and unfavourable weather conditions.

He, however, hastened to add that he was not sure whether he would be able to match his own record or not. “The challenge has come from China and my focus is to cross the productivity achieved there,” he said.

“During field inspection in 2012, it came to light that the productivity level there was between 13 and 14 tonnes of paddy per hectare in fields where hybrid varieties (ARIZE 6444) of seeds were cultivated using green manure and systematic rice intensification method. It was certainly substantially less than the productivity level reported a year earlier,” N K Singh, University Professor and Chief Scientist (Rice) at Rajendra Agriculture University, Pusa (Samastipur), who was part of the team that had visited Darveshpura, told the daily.

Sumant Kumar too had used ARIZE 6444 hybrid seeds in 2011.

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