Area under paddy cultivation shrinks in Madurai district

Despite the good rainfall recorded in the district last year, there has been a reduction in paddy cultivation area in 2019-2020.

The reduction in the area under paddy cultivation has been attributed to the delay in release of water from Periyar dam for irrigation. This has resulted in loss of around 7,000 hectares of paddy cultivation area during the kuruvai season, say officials of Agricultural Department.

According to the officials, paddy has been cultivated on a total of 38,645 hectares in the district until the end of February. The total production so far during this period stands at 1.56 lakh tonnes. The officials say that paddy grown on around 4,000 hectares in Melur, Kottampatti and Madurai East blocks is expected to be harvested by the end of March. This is expected to raise the total production to 1.76 lakh tonnes.

N. Prabhakaran, a farmer from Madakulam, said that usually water was released from Periyar dam in the first week of June every year for irrigation during the kuruvai season. “But in 2019, water was released only on August 29. Due to the uncertainty caused by the delay, many farmers in the district did not cultivate paddy,” he said.

Farmers of the double-crop regions, including Vadipatti, Alanganallur, Madurai East and Madurai North, were able to grow only single crop in 2019-2020 owing to the delayed release of water. “Correspondingly, cultivation was undertaken only on 1,500 hectares during the kuruvai season,” said an official.

On the contrary, paddy coverage as well as the production increased during the samba season. Around 90% of the total area under paddy cultivation was covered during this season.

N. Palanichamy of Melur, president, Tamil Nadu Farmers Association, said that the yield had been good during the samba season. “In areas where sufficient water was released for irrigation, paddy yield was good. But, tail-end areas like Vadakkampatti, Kurichipatti and other extended parts of Kottampatti block did not receive water,” he said.

Though there was a decrease in coverage area and total paddy production, the productivity was set to increase when compared to last year due to good supply of water, said the official.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2020 9:06:00 PM |

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