Background on Pusa-44
Pusa-44 is a rice variety developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in New Delhi. Its key characteristics are:
Long Duration: It takes about 155-160 days to mature from nursery sowing to grain harvest.
Sowing and Harvesting Timeline: Typically sown in nurseries in May, transplanted in mid-June, and ready for harvest by late October.
Impact on Subsequent Crops: Its late harvesting leaves little time for farmers to prepare fields for the next wheat crop, which ideally should be sown by mid-November.
Stubble Burning: Due to the time crunch, farmers often resort to burning the leftover stubble and straw post-harvest to quickly clear fields, contributing to air pollution.
Despite its long maturation period, Pusa-44 is favored for:
High Yield: It produces about 35-36 quintals per acre, with some cases of farmers harvesting up to 40 quintals per acre.
Introduction of Pusa-2090
Recognizing the need for an improvement, IARI developed Pusa-2090, an enhanced version of Pusa-44:
Reduced Maturity Time: Pusa-2090 matures in just 120-125 days.
Genetic Cross: It is a crossbreed between Pusa-44 and CB-501, an early-maturing Japonica rice line.
Yield: It claims to match the high yield of Pusa-44.
Significance of Pusa-2090
Reduction in Air Pollution: Shorter maturation period means timely field clearance for wheat sowing, reducing the need for stubble burning.
Efficient Farming Cycle: Helps maintain the cycle of crop rotation without time pressure.
Sustainable Agricultural Practices: Promotes more environmentally friendly farming methods.
This advancement in rice cultivation can be a significant step towards addressing both the agricultural productivity and environmental concerns related to stubble burning in regions like Punjab and Haryana, which affect air quality in northern India, including Delhi.