Farmers in rain-fed areas awaiting rain to take up transplantation of nurseries

Even as samba paddy cultivation is in full swing in the canal-irrigated delta areas of Tiruchi district, the continuing dry weather is causing anxiety among farmers in the rain-fed areas.

Agriculture Department officials expect the area under samba paddy to touch 67,000 hectares of land in the district. Of this, nearly 36,000 hectares will be in the delta area and 31,000 hectares in the non-delta (rain-fed) area.

According to sources in the department, transplantation is over on 7,500 hectares of land in delta and 500 hectares in the rain-fed areas of the district. Nurseries required for another 34,000 hectares had been raised in the delta and 11,000 hectares in non-delta areas.

Although there are complaints that water has not reached the tail-end areas of the Kattalai High Level Canal (KHLC) and Uyyakondan canal, farmers in the delta area of the district are hopeful of a good crop given the comfortable storage position at Mettur reservoir.

“Though we are not getting optimal flow in the Uyyakondan canal, I am hopeful of getting adequate water to see us through the season. I will start transplanting from Friday,” says K. Ajeeba, a farmer who has raised nurseries to cover about 17 acres of land at Koothapar near Tiruverumbur in the district. He had not raised samba last year because of drought and pins his hopes on the samba crop this season.

Transplantation of nurseries is likely to be completed in the delta area within the next 15 days. Transplantation is under way in full swing in the canal irrigated areas of the district, including Lalgudi, Pullampadi, and Tiruverumbur areas of the district. Officials expect the transplantation operation to reach a peak by next week.

However, farmers in many parts of the rain-fed areas in the district are awaiting the next spell of rain to take up transplantation. The district has recorded deficient rainfall this year too and is experiencing hot weather conditions.

The district has received only 250 mm of rainfall till the end of September as against the normal average of 405 mm for the period, according to Agriculture Department figures.

“Farming operations are under way in full swing in the canal-irrigated areas, except in a few tail-end areas of KHLC and Uyyakondan. However, lack of rain is a cause for concern among farmers in rain-fed areas. Paddy nurseries and maize raised in some of the rain-fed areas could wither if there are is no rain over the next week or so,” says P. Ayyakannu, State vice-president, Bharathiya Kisan Sangam.

The area under cotton and maize have gone up substantially in the rain-fed areas of the district this year as farmers went for the crops after a couple of spells of rain during the adi pattam (July-August). Area under maize has almost doubled to cross 9,000 hectares of land in the district against 4,800 hectares of land covered last year. The area under cotton had crossed 14,800 hectares of land against the normal of about 11,000 hectares.

Agriculture officials say hot weather was normal during the Tamil month of Purattasi but are hopeful of a good north-east monsoon to spur farming in the non-delta area soon.