Kerala

Scant rain spells gloom for major crops

Wayanad receives 121.4 mm of rainfall from June 1 to 20 as against 519.1 mm last year

Scanty rainfall during the ongoing southwest monsoon season is the major concern of the farming community in Wayanad district, a major producer of coffee, rice, pepper, and ginger.

The rainfall data of the Regional Agriculture Research Station (RARS) of Kerala Agricultural University, Ambalavayal, shows that the district had received 121.4 mm of rainfall from June 1 to June 20 as against 519.1 mm during the corresponding period last year.

“While considering the rainfall data in the past 30 years, the average rainfall during the period was 216.9 mm, a deficit of 56%,” K. Ajith Kumar, associate director of research, RARS, told The Hindu. “The dearth of rainfall during the Kharif season will mainly affects the paddy cultivation as the farmers in the district are yet to prepare the paddy nurseries and preparation of land owing to the dearth of rain,” Dr. Ajith Kumar said.

Weed menace

The climatic condition would also spurt the growth of weeds in paddy fields and plantations in the district, he said.

“A few years ago, we used to cultivate two crops in our paddy field but owing to the increasing wildlife attacks, we reduced it to one crop. However, this year we are yet to prepare even a paddy nursery owing to the scanty rainfall,” A.K. Kannan, a tribal farmer at Muthanga, said. “If the situation continues, we will be forced to keep our paddy fields fallow,” he added.

Monsoon rain has a crucial role in the production of pepper as it is a water-assisted pollinating plant.

Pepper flowering

The flowering and pollination of a pepper vine usually takes place during the southwest monsoon but in many parts of the district, especially major pepper-growing areas such as Pulpally, Mullankolly, and Poothadi grama panchayats, the flowering rate was very low owing to the dearth in timely rain.

The farmers who have cultivated ginger and elephant foot yams are also in trouble as they are not able to apply the first dose of chemical fertilisers to the plants.

If the application is late, it adversely affects the growth of the crops. Deficient monsoon will also affect the production of coffee, ginger, areca nut, and cardamom next year, farming sources said.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 5:32:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/scant-rain-spells-gloom-for-major-crops/article28103506.ece

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