Mangaluru

COVID-19 | With returnee migrant workers pitching in, Dakshina Kannada likely to see increased cultivation

Agriculture department that had sold about 2,100 quintals of paddy seeds last Khariff season in Udupi district, culminating in cultivation of about 35,000 hectares of land, has already sold over 2,500 quintals of seeds ahead of this year’s season.

Agriculture department that had sold about 2,100 quintals of paddy seeds last Khariff season in Udupi district, culminating in cultivation of about 35,000 hectares of land, has already sold over 2,500 quintals of seeds ahead of this year’s season.   | Photo Credit: ANIL KUMAR SASTRY

Large extents of fallow fields are being readied for paddy cultivation.

 

In these bleak COVID-19 times, the agriculture sector in undivided Dakshina Kannada has some reason for cheer. Farmers as well as Agriculture department officials are expecting that vast fallow lands in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts, that had remained uncultivated for years, would be cultivated this year mainly because of the enthusiasm of returnees from other cities and States.

Agriculture department that had sold about 2,100 quintals of paddy seeds last Khariff season in Udupi district, culminating in cultivation of about 35,000 hectares of land, has already sold over 2,500 quintals of seeds ahead of this year’s season. “We will surpass the target of 36,000 hactares this season,” department’s Joint Director in Udupi H. Kempe Gowda told The Hindu.

On the other hand, the department is making all efforts to expand paddy cultivation in Dakshina Kannada where the cultivation area is normally lesser than in Udupi district. It is involving farmers, farmer service centres and concerned organisations to encourage farmers to cultivate paddy, said Joint Director in Dakshina Kannada M.C. Seetha. The district has a target of growing paddy on about 10,500 hectares and with enhanced efforts as well as through returnees, it is hopeful of expanding the cultivation area.

Since paddy cultivation in the coastal region is done on rain-fed lands unlike on irrigated areas, hybrid varieties cannot be introduced here, Ms. Seetha said. “Farmers in the region grow paddy for local consumption — predominantly MO 4 variety used to produce boiled rice — than to cater to other regions,” Mr. Gowda said. The department supplies 18 varieties of paddy seeds to farmers, he added.

Meanwhile paddy cultivation has mostly been mechanised, with tractors and power tillers completely replacing bullocks and buffaloes for ploughing the land in the region.

Shivanand Poojari, a farmer in Maravanthe village in Udupi district who was overseeing transplantation of paddy shoots on June 20, said, the farmer community was upbeat with good rains and the presence of additional manpower in the form of returnees. Returnees have addressed the shortage of manpower to some extent, he said, adding he expects very few fields to remain fallow this time.

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Printable version | Jul 10, 2020 11:56:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/covid-19-with-returnee-migrant-workers-pitching-in-dakshina-kannada-likely-to-see-increased-cultivation/article31882259.ece

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