Kerala

Paddy farmers in Kuttanad bear the brunt of rain

A view of the Nattayam paddy polder at Champakulam in Kuttanad on Thursday.  

Thajudeen U.N., a paddy farmer from Champakulam in Kuttanad had suffered huge losses in recent years as a result of crop losses due to heavy downpours and floods.

This year, he has cultivated paddy (additional/second crop season) at the 223-acre Nattayam paddy polder under the Champakulam Krishi Bhavan with an aim to recoup some of the losses of the previous years.

However, heavy rains that lashed the region in recent days and subsequent flooding has now cast a dark cloud over getting a good yield. The almost ready-to-harvest paddy crops at the polder, surrounded by knee-deep water, remain flattened. As the harvest is set to be delayed due to waterlogging, farmers and the padasekhara samithi members are trying hard to avoid a catastrophic loss by placing some 9,000 soil and gravel-filled bags around the polder to prevent bund breach and to check floodwaters from entering the field. Excess water from the field is being pumped out.

“If we take the last four years, the outer bund of the polder had breached three times. This year too we are in a touch-and-go situation. The crops are ready for harvest. A breach in the outer bund at this juncture will be calamitous. The rain has already flattened the crops and there is water in the field. Although the hope of a good yield has been dashed, preventing bund breach would avoid a cumulative loss,” says Mr. Thajudeen.

Vipin Babu, secretary, Nattayam padasekhara samithi says the harvest, which was originally scheduled to take place early next week, would now be held in November. “Harvester machines could not be deployed in the field as it will get stuck. The most important thing at this juncture is to prevent bund breach. A further rise in water level will take things out of our hands,” Mr. Babu says.

While the hard work and money of 165 farmers are at stake at Nattayam, a large number of farmers in the region have already suffered huge losses as a result of downpours and waterlogging. Outer bunds of around 30 paddy polders in the district, most of them in Upper Kuttanad and Kuttanad, have breached so far. Bunds of a number of fields with standing crops, like Nattayam, and those being prepared for the puncha (first) crop season are facing the threat of breaching.

According to the preliminary assessment by the Agriculture Department, paddy cultivation in 538.60 ha. and paddy nursery in 141.30 ha, have been destroyed. The total loss is estimated at ₹10.19 crore.

Apart from the rice cultivation, farmers growing banana, vegetables, tuber crops and so on have suffered losses. The preliminary assessment put the overall crop loss in the district at ₹27.02 crore.


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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 6:36:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/paddy-farmers-in-kuttanad-bear-the-brunt-of-rain/article37112637.ece

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