Double whammy for Pokkali farming in Ernakulam

The traditional pokkali rice farming in Ernakulam district has taken a double hit this season with heightened COVID-19 restrictions and fields not being drained off water to pave the way for field preparations.

The pokkali season begins by mid-April when fish culture ends, and the fields are left for the annual rice cultivation in the ‘one rice, one fish’ cycle. Timely field preparations will be hindered, said Francis Kalathungal of Pokkali Samrakshana Samiti at Chellanam. The Maruvakkad paddy collective in Chellanam panchayat has around 260 acres of which less than 10 acres are cultivated.

Chellanam is one of the regions worst affected by the rapid spread of COVID-19. The panchayat has seen a test positivity rate (TPR) of more than 50%.

The Samiti has been constantly demanding the protection of pokkali, a unique variety of rice that is salt-resistant. It alleged that the shrimp culture lobby had been attempting to sabotage the crop calendar despite a court order that way should be made for draining off salt water from the fields.

Pokkali rice is grown in the coastal areas of Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Thrissur districts. The season extends to October when the fish cycle begins afresh.

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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 12:15:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/double-whammy-for-pokkali-farming-in-ernakulam/article34517471.ece

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