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What procedure should be adopted in cultivation, production and processing of traditional varieties of organic rice?


The procedure adopted in cultivation, production and processing of quality rice using organically produced traditional varieties of paddy is outlined below:


  • Seasonal cropping calendar or Farm almanac. There are two seasons – the – “Yala”, is from April to September in Srilanka.
  • Paddy varieties should be selected taking into consideration the soil condition and climate of the area.
  • Select unmixed high quality seed paddy with no damaged grains.
  • Consumer preference and market demand should be taken into account when selecting paddy varieties.

Land preparation

  • Minimum tillage should be practiced to conserve soil quality.
  • Organic inputs such as compost, paddy husk ash, and manures like bone manure, cattle manure, poultry manure, goat manure and green manure should be added.
  • Use water management techniques to facilitate initial weed control activities and ensure that the fertile top soil layer is not washed-off.
  • Sufficient time should be allowed between first and second tillage and leveling operation.

Cultivation practices

  • Maximum tillering, resistance to lodging, etc. should be selected.
  • To facilitate high rate of tillering, row seeding or transplanting should be practiced.
  • Use a seeder for raw seeding.
  • Different types of plant nursery systems can be used to raise planting materials, namely Dapog nursery, Nursery tray system, Highland nursery, Sri system etc..
  • Weeding should be done twice during the growing period. Use a row weeder for this purpose.
  • Minimum seed rate is recommended, if sowing is to be practiced.

Maintanence of growing crop

  • Chemical pesticides should not be used for pest control activities and use natural pest control measures viz: Margosa (Azadirachta Indica A. Juss), Daluk (Euphorbia Antquorm L) Cimamon (Cissampelos Paareira L) etc…
  • Growing of insect repellent plants such as Daspetiya (Calendula officinalis L)on the bunds of the paddy field.
  • Use water management practices and mechanical weeder to control weeds.
  • Excessive shade should be removed by trimming over hanging branches of the trees in the vicinity of the field to facilitate maximum sun light.
  • Maintain natural environment around the field.
  • Any off-varieties or wild varieties, if detected, should be removed immediately.
  • Organically produce liquid fertilizer, wormiculture technique, can be used to promote plant growth.
  • Growing crop should be checked regularly.

Harvesting and primary processing

  • Exact harvesting time of each traditional variety should be determined correctly using the farm almanac on a dry day.
  • Observe the panicle colour and flag leaf to decide on the harvesting date.
  • Use manual labour and small machinery for harvesting and threshing of paddy instead of Heavy machinery and equipments.
  • After manual harvesting leave it, before collecting, for a day to dry on the field itself.
  • Manual treading or small tractor may be used to thresh paddy. To avoid any contamination use gunny mats to cover the threshing floor.
  • Use traditional knowledge and observe threshing floor rituals during threshing of paddy.
  • Winnowing should be done to remove all impurities such as weed seeds, half filled grains, dust etc.
  • Cleaned paddy should be sun dried using a mat on the floor to avoid any contaminations.

Storage of paddy

  • Store only well dried clean paddy.
  • When purchasing paddy check for its quality standards such as:
  1. moisture content,
  2. impurities present,
  3. admixture of off varieties, unfilled and half filled grains present.
  • Use clean, insect free gunny bags or plastic bags to pack paddy.
  • Wash and dry all gunny bags or plastic bags before reusing it for packing paddy.
  • All paddy bags should be stacked variety wise on wooden pellets (dunnages) to prevent them from getting into direct contact with the naked floor.
  • Stack paddy leaving alley ways between stacks and walls to prevent rat damages. Trim all over-hanging branches of the trees in the vicinity of the paddy store.
  • Keep the doors and windows of the paddy store open on sunny days to facilitate proper aeration. Do not keep doors and windows open on rainy days.
  • Use traditional insect repellants to control insects infestations such as Margosa leaves (Azadirachtaindica A. Juss.), Lime leaves (Citrus aurantifolia), Nika (Kayea stylosa).
  • Do not use chemical insect repellents or insecticides to control insects.
  • Paddy stores should be fogged by burning Margosa leaves, Lime leaves etc to prevent insect infestations.
  • Whenever possible use traditional storage structures such as Wee Bissa, Wee Atuwa etc. to store paddy.
  • Regular inspections should be carried out to ascertain pest damages, roof leakages etc.
  • All Paddy bags must be very well accessible for checking or inspection, and when issuing, follow first come first out basis.
  • All information, statistics, accounts and any other records related to stored paddy should be maintained to facilitate proper management.
  • Use a Tag card system to identify paddy bags according to varieties, date of purchase etc.

Rice processing

  • Paddy should be milled only according to the requirements.
  • Use only small scale rice milling machinery to mill paddy as it would help to minimize variety mixing during processing operation.
  • Paddy stocks should not be kept in rice mill premises for a long time.
  • Processed rice should be packed.Allow milled rice to be cool before packing.
  • Different varieties of paddy should be milled separately to prevent any variety mixing.
  • Use correct gauge of polythene to pack rice.
  • Keep packeted rice in cardboard boxes.
  • Packeted rice should not be exposed to dew or strong sun light and keep them in a container to prevent insect infestations.
  • Rice milling should be planned according to the market requirements.
  • Rice should not be stored along with any chemical perfumes or oils.
  • Milled rice should be checked regularly for any pests such as weevils act…
  • Good rice should not be stored together with rice infested with insects.
  • Different varieties of paddy should be milled separately and store them separately to avoid any variety mixing.
  • Use small packaging materials to store rice.
  • Use plastic containers or cardboard boxes to store and transport packeted rice. Do not use gunny bags or plastic bags for these purposes.
  • Appropriate variety name should be clearly indicated on the packet.

For more information on rice cultivation in Sri Lanka:

  • Agricultural technologies used for rice.
  • Future of rice, Strategies to increase rice production and quality.
  • Climate variability and rice production in Sri Lanka.
Tags: Paddy Other Crops

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