Two crops possible if northeast monsoon is good
Medium and big farmers cultivate at least one crop during distress years using borewell waterIf water is not released, small and marginal farmers are forced to keep their land fallow
CHENNAI: Farmers of the Cauvery delta feel they can cultivate at least one crop a year if assured of water as per the final award of the Water Disputes Tribunal.
After four years, farmers successfully harvested kuruvai and samba crops in the current season thanks to timely release of water from the Mettur reservoir.
While medium and big farmers manage to cultivate at least one crop a year during distress years using borewell water, small and marginal farmers have no such backup. If water is not released from the reservoir they are forced to keep their land fallow. The final order has come as a boon for them.
The big and medium farmers start operations well before the release of water from the reservoir. They raise seedlings with the help of well water and switch to river water supply once water is released. When there is sufficient supply, they harvest two crops a year with good yield.
The small and marginal farmers rely mostly on the Cauvery water. They start raising seedlings only after water is released from the reservoir. If the supply is erratic, their crops are affected.
If the final award is implemented, small and marginal farmers will benefit the most. Assured release of water will ensure them either short-term kuruvai or samba. If the northeast monsoon is good they can successfully harvest two crops besides pulses or gingili, which will bring in additional income.
The delta farmers, on an average, require a minimum of 101 tmcft for completing kuruvai cultivation, 180 tmcft for samba and 50 tmcft for thaladi cultivation.
Water managers here want farmers to change their age-old cultivating practice and adopt modern methods for better utilisation of available water. At present each farmer wants to raise his own nurseries. If they raise common nurseries, it could save time and conserve water. By adopting community nurseries they can go for kuruvai and samba.