Kerala

Alappuzha farmers a worried lot

Despite some issues, paddy harvest and procurement are progressing in Kuttaand and other parts of the district. The Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation (Supplyco) has procured around 6,000 tonnes of paddy so far from farmers in Alappuzha.

Supplyco officials said the procurement process would gain momentum in the coming days. “Issues persist between farmers and mills over the quality of rice at some polders. It has affected paddy procurement to some extent, but overall, the process is making progress. These are initial days, and we expect to resolve the issues amicably,” said an official.

Farmers said rice mills were demanding wastage up to 10 kg per quintal of paddy resulting in a delay in procurement. They urged the authorities to intervene and initiate measures to procure the harvested paddy at the earliest as summer rain could prove costly.

Many issues

Issues in connection with paddy procurement are nothing new. In the recently concluded second crop season, mills initially kept away from procurement after they failed to reach an agreement with the government.

Following this, the government decided to rope in cooperative societies to procure paddy directly from the farmers. However, a lack of storage, among other facilities, for cooperative societies in the district resulted in a delay in procurement. The impasse ended after an agreement was reached between Supplyco and mill owners.

Paddy farming has been undertaken in around 29,000 ha in Alappuzha in the ‘puncha’ crop season (first crop), a major portion of which is in Kuttanad. However, farmers in Kuttanad and upper Kuttanad are sceptical about the yield as they faced several challenges in the ‘puncha’ season.

In the beginning, seeds provided by the government to farmers in Nedumudi, Thakazhi, and Veeyapuram failed to germinate. An increase in water level coupled with bund breaches following unseasonal rain destroyed paddy in around 600 ha in Kuttanad and upper Kuttanad. Besides, pest attack and wild rice menace have also been reported from several fields.

Last month, the district administration fixed the rental rates for combine harvesters at ₹2,200 per hour for ‘Kayal’ fields and ₹2,100 for the rest of the fields. Around 400 machines will be required for harvesting the ‘puncha’ crop.

Apart from a small number of machines available in the district, the rest are being brought from other districts and neighbouring States.

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Printable version | Apr 11, 2021 5:39:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/alappuzha-farmers-a-worried-lot/article34000423.ece

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