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Maize thrown to cattle as feed

M. Balaganessin
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Crop in 10,000 hectares damaged due to poor rainfall and lack of irrigational facility

left to livestock:Maize that has withered away for want of water at Kudikadu village in Veppanthattai taluk in Perambalur district.
left to livestock:Maize that has withered away for want of water at Kudikadu village in Veppanthattai taluk in Perambalur district.

Maize cultivated in about 10,000 hectares in the district, especially in Veppanthatti taluk, has withered away due to failure of monsoon and absence of irrigational facility. As the 120-day duration crop, raised during the Adi Pattam, has suffered damage even before reaching the flowering stage, farmers are forced to use it as feed for livestock.

Pinning their hopes on showers in October, farmers had cultivated the crop in an area of about 33,000 hectares in Veppanthattai, Veppur, Alathur and Perambalur blocks.

“The crop was chiefly raised as a rain-fed variety and the failure of monsoon brought havoc to the farmers,” says R. Raja Chidambaram, State secretary, Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam. “The problem this year is peculiar as rain was not evenly distributed in the district. Those who could irrigate their fields are battling hard to save the crop by supplying the available waters from their wells,” he says. With an assured market as a poultry feed in Namakkal and surrounding belts, the farmers usually get attractive returns in normal season. “But, the crop has failed twice. A sudden downpour in 2010 had caused extensive damage to the crop. This season, it was due to lack of irrigational facility,” says a section of farmers, who had incurred a huge loss in and around Veppanthattai.

A farmer from Kudikadu village near Veppanthattai says he had invested about Rs. 15,000 an acre anticipating a harvest of about 30 bags an acre. He had planned to sell the maize for Rs. 30,000 at the rate of Rs. 1,000 per bag, thereby registering a profit of Rs. 15,000.

Although the crop has not withered away in other areas, farmers are not hopeful about the prospects of the yield. “It will take at least a month to ascertain the health of the crop based on its flowering capability,” Mr. Raja Chidambaram said.

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