Farmers not harvesting crop owing to poor yield

Paddy farmers in many parts of Chittur have faced heavy losses as the crop has been affected by bacterial leaf blight.

More than half the yield has been lost, making harvesting uneconomic, V. Jagadeeshan of Mullakkal Challa in the Perumatty grama panchayat limits, says. He has left the ripe paddy uncut on three acres of his field.

The disease damages the plants and results in the wilting of seedlings. The leaves dry quickly, wilt, and roll up, becoming grey to yellow. The plants soon wilt, he says.

Rain and deep water, high humidity, and warm temperature cause the disease, Mukundan Unni, Deputy Director of Agriculture, says.

The production will be reduced by half and sometimes more. Though pesticides are available to control the disease, climate change may render them ineffective.

Mr. Unni says the State government will not pay compensation to the farmers for the crop loss. Without crop insurance, they will not get relief.

The farmers have been demanding compensation from the government. They say continuous rain in the past two months has affected paddy cultivation in the whole district. In most areas, production fell by half.

Mundur M.K. Krishnan, farmer, says the yield from an acre of his field has come down from three cartloads to one. So paddy cultivation has become a losing business this season.

Applying copper compound, antibiotics, and other chemicals prescribed has not proven very effective against the disease, say International Rice Research Institute reports. In India, the crop on millions of hectares of fields has been severely affected, reducing yield by six-60 per cent.

The disease has affected Asia's annual rice production by as much as 60 per cent. For example, in Japan, the crop on 30,000 to 4,00,000 hectares of land has been affected.

Keywords: crop loss

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