Direction (Q. 2 - 10): Read the following passage and answer the questions given below. Some words in the passage are printed in bold to help you locate them while answering some of the questions.
Japanese organic farmer Takao Furuno has hit upon a novel idea to make his paddy fields flourish : Soon after the rice seedlings
are planted, he releases ducks into the fields. “Well, it has been called a one - bird revolution”, says Furuno, adding, “the duck is the
key to success”.
But don’t the ducks eat the seedlings? No they don’t. Furuno points out that “it is not in their nature to eat the rice seedlings.
Agronomists says it’s because rice seedlings have too much silica”.
On the contrary, the birds come as a boon to rice cultivation and play a vital role in ensuring a high yield. They eat the insects
and golden snail that destroy the rice plants. They also feed on the seeds and seedlings of weeds by digging them up from the field bed,
thereby encouraging the roots of the rice plants to grow.
The ducks are so good at weeding that farmers who have adopted the method now have the time to sit and exchange
pleasantries instead of wasting 240 person - hours per hectare in manual weeding per year.
About 20 ducklings are released per tenth of a hectare. One of the main benefits is that the wading ducks provide mechanical
stimulation to the plants by creating ripples in the otherwise still water. This helps to make the plant stems thicker and stronger. This
has been proved beyond doubt by the numerous experiments carried out by Furuno on his fields in Keisen, a small village on the
outskirts of Fukuka in Kyushu, Japan.
In fact, despite having attended agricultural college, Furuno did not learn about the Aigamo method there - Aigamo being the name
of the ducks, which are a crossbreed between domestic and wild birds. He created the method by working on a combination of
inspiration, observation and experimentation. The ducks are left on the fields for 24 hours, They are protected from the dogs by electric
fences and other similar barriers around the fields. There is a dry patch of ground for them to rest on and eat waste grain from the
neighbouring rice polishing factory. But once the rice plants form ears of grain the birds are rounded up or else they will eat up the grain.
They are then confined to sheds, fed waste grain, allowed to mature and readied for the market.
The aligamo method has been taken up by around 10,000 farmers in Japan. It has also been adopted by farmers in South Korea,
Vietnam, the Philippines, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia. With an average increase of 20-50 per cent in rice yields, the
Aigamo method has proved to be a boon for South-East Asian countries.
“We did not patent the method, we just want it to be widely adopted”, says Furuno who also provide training to people who are
interested in learning the method practised on his farm.
“There’s always someone here who wants to learn, and everyday, I get several phone calls from people needing advice, “he
says, without a trace of either false modesty or pride in his voice.
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