Farming resumed 2 years ago after 45-year gap

Harvest in the paddy fields of Varamkadavu in the brackish water areas (kaipad) in the catchments of the Kattampally river is under way, with farmers, agricultural officers and representatives of local bodies in the area gathering in the fields for the second successful harvest after the traditional ‘kaipad’ paddy cultivation resumed in the area after a gap of over 45 years.

The extensive kaipad fields at Varam, known as ‘Varam Vithu Kandam,’ has been revived decades after they were left fallow following the commissioning of the Kattampally Irrigation Project that stopped the tidal action and left large extent of brackish water areas along the river unfit for paddy cultivation. The irrigation project was aimed at checking salinity intrusion into the upstream of the river and its brackish water catchments, but after the commissioning of the project, the kaipad areas once known for rich traditional paddy and shrimp cultivation were rendered useless for paddy farming.

The harvesting of paddy, which were launched two years ago with the support of the Fisheries Department, was inaugurated by Chelora panchayat president N.V. Purushothaman on Saturday. He said that the kaipad fields, spread across eight panchayats in the district, had the potential for reviving the traditional paddy and shrimp farming.

Farmers gathered for the harvest festival were told by agricultural officers and people’s representatives the paddy-cum-shrimp farming launched by the Fisheries Department could ensure livelihood of paddy farmers. The harvest occasion should be utilised for creating proper awareness among the farmers of the financial assistance from the Fisheries Department.

Fisheries Deputy Director K. Raghu presided. Agricultural Officer at the Chelora panchayat M.K. Leena, aquaculture expert K.V. Surendran, Kaipad Farmers’ Committee president K. Kunhimamu and farmer M. Ashraf were present.

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