Farmers in the district who have raised paddy nurseries in anticipation of good harvest in rabi season, are in confused as to go ahead with transplantation of the seedlings from nurseries to the main fields or drop the cultivation at nursery-stage itself to minimise the losses.

Reason for it is the continuing poor monsoon coupled with insufficient release of water from reservoirs for irrigation.

Already, it has been a poor season for paddy in the district this year with acreage under the crop been almost nil in the just-ended kharif season.

According to official statistics, paddy nurseries have come up on 110 acres to produce the seedlings required for 1,300 hectares of paddy cultivation during the just-commenced rabi season.

K.C.M. Balasubrmaniam, a progressive farmer and a former agriculture economist of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, told The Hindu that in the present drought-like situation, it would be ‘technically’ unwise to go for transplantation to main cultivable areas as preparatory works in the main field itself requires lot of water.

“But with paddy is seen as a major grain crop, the district administration could try out a solution to ensure transplantation by going for micro-level interventions.

“Accordingly, the farmers who are struggling the most for the water need to be identified and then provide them with at least six hours of uninterrupted power supply daily for almost two months as ‘emergency cases’ to enable them draw groundwater for irrigation,” he said.

Considering the seriousness of the situation and protect the paddy acreage, the department of agriculture is planning to enthuse the farmers to go for a ‘modified’ implementation of System of Rice Intensification (SRI) technique so that whatever water available through canal irrigation could be judiciously used.

“Use of SRI methodology has advantages as it requires ‘reduced height of standing water’ when compared to traditional cultivation practices,” Joint Director of Agriculture M.K. Sherif said.

This apart, the department will also be distributing power weeders at subsidised rates to remove weeds for ensuring better root growth and power sprayers to help farmers fight pest attacks.

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