They haven’t been paid relief due to poll code

Coconut growers in Tumkur district are in distress as the trees are withering due to drought and disease. Compounding their woes is the delay in the distribution of relief by the district administration owing to the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha election.

They have been reeling under drought for the last three years. Coconut is largely grown in Tiptur, Turuvekere, Chikkanayakanhalli, Tumkur and Gubbi taluks, where farmers are entirely dependent on coconut crop for livelihood.

According to the Department of Horticulture, the total area under coconut cultivation in the district is about 1,47,539 hectares. However, the prevailing drought condition has brought down the yield to less than 50 per cent on about 36,502 hectares. In addition, coconut trees on about 4,812 ha. have completely withered due to drought and pests, affecting 75,688 farmers. About 70 per cent of those affected are small and marginal farmers.

Lack of irrigation facilities, decline in groundwater level, and scanty rainfall are the main reasons for the withering of coconut trees. In addition, Ganoderma or stem-bleeding, bud rot and other diseases and pest attacks such as like red palm weevil too are affecting the trees. Many farmers are migrating to nearby towns and cities in search of job. S.K. Santhosh, a farmer from Soralamavu said: “I am working as a helper in a private factory in Bangalore , as we are not getting any income from coconut farm.”