Samba paddy crop is expected to be raised on about 73,000 hectares in Tiruchi district this year, making good the shortfall in the kuruvai season.

Normally, samba paddy was raised on about 58,000 hectares in the district. The normal coverage under kuruvai season was about 6,000 hectares but this year there was a shortfall owing to absence of rain and late release of water from the Mettur reservoir.

However, the coverage during the samba season was expected to go up as farmers, who could not take up cultivation during the kuruvai season, would raise the crop now, Agriculture Department officials said. Of this, the system of rice intensification technique would be promoted on about 20,000 hectares.

Farmers in several parts of the district had begun the preparatory work and in some places nurseries had been raised. So far, nurseries had been raised on about 300 hectares but a majority of farmers were expected to begin raising nurseries by the first week of September, N. Ponnusamy, Joint Director of Agriculture, told ‘The Hindu’ here on Thursday.

Paddy was raised on about 4,200 hectares, mostly in the filter point areas, during the kuruvai season this year against the normal area of about 6,000 hectares. The kuruvai shortfall of about 1,800 hectares, along with the thaladi and navarai crops were expected to increase the coverage area during the samba, Mr. Ponnusamy said.

He said adequate stock of certified seeds had already been moved to the agriculture extension centres and primary agricultural cooperative societies.

About 600 tonnes of seeds of various varieties had been made available and of this about 100 tonnes had been distributed to farmers. The State government was extending a subsidy of Rs.5 a kg of seeds.

He appealed to farmers to exercise caution while purchasing seeds from private dealers and ensure that the seeds were certified. In case of suspicion, the seeds could be tested at the Seed Testing Laboratory at Khajamalai in Tiruchi on a payment of Rs.30.

The Agriculture Department had advised farmers to go in for bio or chemical seed treatment to prevent pest attack and disease.

Application of green manure had been advised. Technical advice was being extended to the farmers in all agriculture extension centres.

Similarly, they were being encouraged to go in for crop insurance.