Kerala

Rain drowns Kuttanad farmers’ hopes, again

Paddy crops lying flattened at a submerged paddy field at Pallathuruthy in Kuttanad on Friday.

Paddy crops lying flattened at a submerged paddy field at Pallathuruthy in Kuttanad on Friday.  

Like last year, incessant rain submerges second crop in around 7,000 hectares

The last puncha season had delivered a bumper crop to the paddy farmers of Kuttanad. This time, hundreds who cultivated paddy in the second crop season are staring at huge losses as large tracts of fields with harvest-ready crops remain submerged after incessant rain.

Paddy was cultivated in 10,470 hectares in the additional crop season. Of this, crop in 1,051 ha was destroyed in August following a series of bund breaches. Paddy in another 2,172 ha was washed away in the same period.

According to farmers and Agriculture Department officials, majority of the fields that survived the August flood are in no shape to yield harvest after being submerged for several days in the last couple of weeks.

Set for huge loss

Kuttanad is facing a crop loss in the second crop season for the second year in a row. Last year, back-to-back floods had destroyed the additional crop in its entirety.

Renil Kumar K.K. is among 152 small farmers to have cultivated paddy in the 200-acre Vavakkad North padashekharam in Kainakary.

He says that the rain and a rise in water level have almost destroyed the fully grown crop.

“The harvest of the second crop had begun recently. Our paddy fields are set to go under the harvester on November 6. But with crops flattened and submerged, there is little hope left. It is also not possible to deploy combined harvester in the present conditions.

An amount of around ₹30,000 was spent per acre and the farmers are set to suffer huge losses,” said, Mr. Kumar, also the secretary of the padashekharam.

Loss at ₹107 crore

Susan Varghese, Deputy Director of Agriculture, told The Hindu that the crop loss in Kuttanad was estimated at ₹107 crore.

“As on Friday evening crop in around 7,000 ha remains submerged. We are doing our best to dewater the fields. Although, harvesters have been deployed, it takes more time to harvest submerged fields, incurring additional cost to farmers,” Ms. Varghese said.

Officials said that the average yield per acre had come down to 1.5 to 2 tonnes compared to 4 tonnes in the puncha season.

The moisture content was on higher side, resulting in mill owners showing reluctance in procuring the already harvested paddy from a small number of fields.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 12:57:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/rain-drowns-kuttanad-farmers-hopes-again/article29857450.ece

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