9,834 hectares covered this year against normal area of about 6,500 hectares
The area under kuruvai paddy in Tiruchi district has reached a 10-year high this season, thanks to the timely release of water and favourable conditions.
According to sources in the Agriculture Department, kuruvai paddy has been raised in about 9,834 hectares (ha) this year. This is the highest coverage achieved in the district during kuruvai after 2000-01. The system of rice intensification technique has been adopted in 5,432 ha, accounting for more than 50 per cent of the total area.
Though samba is the major crop for the district, the prospect of assured water supply for irrigation had enthused farmers to gear up for kuruvai paddy cultivation this year. The confidence of the farmers stemmed from the release of water for irrigation from the Mettur reservoir on June 6, ahead of the normal water release date on June 11.
Agriculture Department officials had been expecting an increase of about 1,500 ha in the area under kuruvai over the normal coverage of about 6,500 ha. Their expectations have well been exceeded.
According to statistics available with the department, kuruvai paddy was at a peak of 10,284 ha in 2000-01 and had been on the decline ever since. The coverage came down to 9,584 ha in 2001-02 and shrunk heavily to 2,616 ha in 2003-04. There was some recovery of sorts as it increased to 4,876 ha in 2004-05. The coverage was around 6,000 ha over the next two years. During 2007-08 and 2008-09, the kuruvai area in the district was over 5,000 ha. There was a fall again when it came down to 4,224 ha in 2009-10 and 4,750 ha in 2010-11 only to witness a resurgence this year.
Lalgudi block, one of the most fertile in the district, as usual accounted for the highest kuruvai area of about 5,116 hectares this season. However, department officials also observed that there has been an increase in kuruvai area in Uppilliyapuram block also on account of some timely rain and inflow into the tanks in the region. Officials said the standing crop across the district was in good condition.
“This has turned out to be a good season. With the opening of the Mettur reservoir ahead of the scheduled date, farmers were able to take up preparatory works and go in for the crop in time. There has been no report of any water scarcity and this is the main reason for the increase in coverage. We are hopeful of a good harvest also,” observed G.Kanagasabai, president, District Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association.
Meanwhile, the Agriculture Department has started gearing up for the samba season ahead, which starts towards the end of August or September in single crop areas of the district. Officials said more than 620 tonnes of certified paddy seeds of several varieties, including improved white ponni, ADT 39, BPT 5204 and Tiruchi-1, have been stocked up.
The normal area under samba is around 62,600 ha but again this could also be exceeded if favourable conditions prevailed.