Kerala

Summer rain hits paddy harvest

Shortage of harvesting machines adds to farmers’ misery in upper Kuttanad

The early onset of summer rain, coupled with acute shortage of harvesting machines, has badly hit paddy harvesting in upper Kuttanad. All fields in the villages of Peringara, Kadapra, Niranom, Nedumpram and Kuttoor have been waterlogged in the rain that lashed the region over the past one week.

Farmers are worried about the chances of ripe paddy sprouting if it continues to remain submerged in the waterlogged fields. The harvesting was scheduled to begin on April 1.

Just 20 harvesters

District panchayat member Sam Eapen told The Hindu that non-availability of sufficient number of combine harvesters was a serious issue facing the paddy cultivators in upper Kuttanad. Though it required not less than 70 combine harvesters, hardly 20 harvesters were deployed in the area as on Monday, Mr. Eapen said.

Mr. Eapen, who is also an office-bearer of the Upper Kuttanad Nelkarshaka Samiti (UKNS), said the harvesting machines could not be used in the waterlogged fields.

Dearth of operators

The harvesters are brought from Salem district in Tamil Nadu and the COVID-19 threat and the nationwide lockdown have made it difficult for the farmers to mobilise sufficient number of harvesters. Moreover, the non-availability of its operators who have returned to their home villages following the lockdown has left many machines idling.

There are 24 paddy fields in Peringara village, seven in Kadapra and eight fields in Niranom, besides 150 acres in Kuttoor and 750 acres spread across Kaviyur puncha and Thiruvalla municipality.

Many farmers in upper Kuttanad have borrowed money from local moneylenders for paddy cultivation and the development will plunge them into a deep financial crisis.

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 4:42:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/summer-rain-hits-paddy-harvest/article31274365.ece

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