The summer showers and squall, which swept the region last month, though came as a boon to the gingili cultivators of Pudukottai district, turned out to a bane for a few banana growers in Tiruchi district.
Although banana cultivation has nearly ended, a few farmers, who had raised the ‘aelarasi’ variety in Pachoor village, said that they could get only 50 per cent of the usual harvest as the squall had damaged the ready-to-harvest crop extensively. P.Katthan (55), who had raised the crop on 2.5 acres, said that he had incurred huge loss on various counts.
The crop he raised in March 2013 registered poor yield due to failure of monsoon and he had to make alternative arrangements for irrigating the fields. However, the sudden squall that hit Tiruchi and neighbouring districts on May 6, uprooted nearly 1,000 of the total 2,000 plantains in his field. The long-duration variety he raised has an assured market in Kerala, he said.
Despite his efforts to salvage the crop by supporting them with casuarinas, the subsequent showers and strong winds had damaged the plantains.
“Not just the quantity, the quality of the produce was also very poor.” Against the usual Rs.150 a bunch price, he was able to sell the produce for just Rs.80 a bunch. . “The bunches did not grow fully due to paucity of water,” he said adding that he did not take coverage under the crop insurance scheme.
The picture was different for the gingili farmers of Pudukottai district who had raised the crop using the summer showers in the rain-fed areas.
Kandasamy, a farmer of Karambakudi, points out that he had raised the short-duration variety using the summer showers. He expected attractive returns from the crop as the summer shower was quite adequate for its growth.
K.M. Shah Jehan, Joint Director of Agriculture, said that district’s normal area was 500 hectares but about 700 hectares had been brought under the gingili crop so far.
A single village, Pandipathiram in Avudaiyarkovil taluk, accounted for 150 acres. Most farmers had raised ‘SVPR 1’ and ‘TMV 3’ varieties. He anticipated an average yield of 300 kg an acre.
A number of farmers pleaded for inclusion of the gingili cultivation in the ‘adangal’ records of the revenue department.