Kerala

First crop harvest back in full swing

Procurement of harvested paddy in progress at Kuttanad in Alappuzha.

Procurement of harvested paddy in progress at Kuttanad in Alappuzha.  

Paddy harvesting, procurement, related activities on the list of essential services

The harvest of the ‘puncha’ crop (first crop) and procurement are back in full swing in Kuttanad.

Last week, the entire process came to a halt after the State government declared a lockdown and the district administration imposed Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to check the spread of COVID-19. But, the State government later included paddy harvesting, procurement and other related activities on the list of essential services.

Time-bound manner

A high-level meeting attended by Public Works Minister G. Sudhakaran, Food and Civil Supplies Minister P. Thilothaman, and Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar here on Thursday also decided to complete the harvest and procurement in a time-bound manner.

A.V. Suresh Kumar, senior paddy marketing officer, Supplyco, says that around 54,000 tonnes of paddy has been procured from Alappuzha district so far this season.

“Harvest has been completed in 40% of the paddy fields in the district. The truckers are charging excessive rates for transporting the procured paddy to mills. Although there are some issues, the procurement is going on,” he said.

Around 200 combine harvesters have been deployed in the district. In the wake of COVID-19, a special health protocol for loading and unloading workers, truck drivers and operators of combine harvesters has been formulated.

Officials say 80% of the paddy would be procured by April and the procurement would be completed by May 15, as decided at the high-level meeting.

According to the Agriculture Department, the farmers have undertaken paddy farming in more than 27,500 hectares in the district, a major portion of which is in Kuttanad. Some 49,000 farmers have registered online with Supplyco for selling their produce this season.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 2:39:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/first-crop-harvest-back-in-full-swing/article31195153.ece

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