Madurai

Paddy cultivation in full swing

Labourers engaged in paddy transplantation near Athur in Dindigul district on Saturday.

Labourers engaged in paddy transplantation near Athur in Dindigul district on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: G_KARTHIKEYAN

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800 hectares in Athoor belt alone under the crop

Though Dindigul is known for horticulture crops, the district also has a paddy belt.

Athoor and Nilakottai, supported by water for irrigation from Kudaganar and Vaigai, are regarded as traditional paddy growing areas. This year, owing to a bountiful monsoon, farmers in and around Athoor have raised paddy and even a few barren lands have come under the crop.

Planting of paddy saplings is on in full swing in Sithayankottai, Sempatti, Narasingapuram, Alagarnayakkanpatti, Ayyampalayam, Bodikamanvadi and Chokkalingapuram and farmers can be seen engaged in the transplanting process.

Due to shortage of labourers and high wages, many have resorted to transplanter machine this time.

“We bought paddy seeds from the agriculture office for a price of ₹25 per kilo and have sowed them. Water from the western ghats due to good rains and the Kamarajar dam, has helped cultivation this time around,” said Natarajan, a farmer from Athoor.

A majority of farmers in the belt have chosen the medium duration paddy variety of KO-51, that yields in 135 days. The other popular varieties are ADG-45 and KO-52 that are disease resistant. “The popularity of KO-51 is because the occurrence of gall midge pest is comparatively rare in this variety of paddy. We have conducted 12 pest awareness camps in Athoor belt so far,” said P. Suruliappan, assistant director, quality control.

“Under the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) programme of the National Agriculture Development Programme, we have conducted rice planting demonstrations in 45 acres in Athoor belt”, said S. Pandithurai, joint director, Agriculture.

“Machine planting helps increase efficiency per acre. Though it reduces the number of saplings per acre, the proliferation of pests is better controlled as the density of crops is lesser. Moreover, it takes only six kilos of seeds per acre in machine planting method,” he said.

“As per the System of Rice Intensification, we have targeted to bring 1,500 hectares under paddy cultivation in Athoor block. So far, 800 hectares in the block had been covered. Nilakottai block has 700 ha of paddy, Palani has 7,000 ha and in total, paddy is cultivated traditionally in 15,000 ha in Dindigul district,” he added.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 11:29:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/paddy-cultivation-in-full-swing/article30307773.ece

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