Order to free up pokkali fields for cultivation

The Ernakulam district administration has issued orders to allow pokkali fields to be made free for rice cultivation for the new rice season by April 14 so as to allow field preparations ahead of the sowing time.


Sources in the Pokkali Samrakshana Samithi, a group of farmers working to revive pokkali rice cultivation in the State, said the order by the district administration had said that the fields should be free of fish culture and that farmers engaged in fish culture after April 15 would not be issued permission for aquaculture if the order was not followed. The pokkali fields in the district are cultivated in a one-fish and one-rice cycle in which the rice cultivation takes place during the monsoon months with the field preparations beginning in the middle of April.

The fields are drained and prepared for the sowing ahead of the first bout of the monsoon rain. The salt in the fields is drained by the flooding of the fields and then the seeds are sown. However, with pokkali rice cultivation becoming a liability in many places, farmers have been using the fields for shrimp and fish culture, said the Pokkali Samrakshana Samithi.

The Chellanam, Kadamakkudy, Kottuvally, Varappuzha, and Kumbalanghi areas are known for their pokkali fields in the district but the area under the GI-tagged rice variety has shrunk considerably over the years because of heavy flooding in the past and subsequent loss of crops.

The floods of 2018 and 2019 had resulted in major losses for the farmers. Unusually heavy rain has been the key reason for the loss of crops in the past.

Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 7:29:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/order-to-free-up-pokkali-fields-for-cultivation/article33966620.ece

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