Only one-fifth of the harvest is over
The total cultivated acreage this season
has crossed 10,000 hectares
Harvested paddy remains unprotected from rain in several padasekharams
ALAPPUZHA: Continuing rain has thrown a shadow of uncertainty over the ongoing harvest of the additional paddy crop in Kuttanad, once again triggering fears of a third consecutive season of troubles for the farmers here.
It is not just the harvest that has been tilted off the track on paddy fields here. Procurement of threshed grains and storage of the same on the fields while waiting for procurement agencies are turning out to be major headaches for the farmers. The additional crop and the ‘virippu’ crop are said to have reported an additional yield of over 250 kg per hectare.
This season, the paddy acreage for the additional and ‘virippu’ crops has registered a substantial rise. According to Principal Agriculture Officer P.S. Soman, the total cultivated acreage this season had crossed 10,000 hectares, as against the 7,347 hectares in the corresponding season last year. However, rain struck when only one-fifth of the harvest process, in around 2,000 hectares, was over. The 13 mills selected by the Civil Supplies have procured only 2,800 tonnes of paddy so far, which is much less than half of the harvested crop. The less number of mills has resulted in harvested paddy remaining unprotected from rain in several padasekharams, with the conventional storage modes of the Kuttanad farmer taking a beating in the continuous rain. At Ponga alone, more than five truck loads of the grain are waiting on the roadside for the mills while similar sights are being witnessed all along the Alappuzha-Changanassery road.
Shortage of threshing machines too has hit the process in some areas. Uncertainty, it seems, is turning out to be a perennial predicament for the Kuttanad farmer. In March this year, a major share of the puncha crop was washed away in rain while floods and rain did the damage for the puncha crop in early 2007. With nature’s vagaries, particularly climate changes, becoming all the more unpredictable every season, efforts of the farmers and the government, which took radical steps including interest-free loans and purchase of combine harvester machines, stand the danger of being done in.