Tamil Nadu has achieved a record coverage of paddy this financial year (2021-22) as the total area stands at 21.65 lakh hectares.
This marks the highest coverage of paddy in the last 15 years. The previous high was 20 lakh hectares in 2015-16. Then, the rice production was about 74 lakh tonnes. The targetted rice production for the year is 75.5 lakh tonnes. Considering the damage that many parts of the State suffered this time during the northeast monsoon (October-December), it remains to be seen whether the State will be able to meet the target.
Compared with the previous year (2020-21), paddy has been raised on nearly two lakh more hectares this year. In this year’s coverage, the Cauvery delta’s share is around 7.4 lakh hectares and the non-delta 14.223 lakh hectares. Naturally, it was during the Samba/Thaladi/Pishanam cultivation season that farmers achieved the dominant part of the total coverage. In the delta, the extent of coverage in the season was 5.4 lakh hectares and in the rest of the State, 9.47 lakh hectares.
One of the main reasons for improved performance was that both southwest (June-September) and northeast monsoons were favourable to the State. Though there was no excess rainfall (as defined by the Meteorological Department) during the southwest monsoon, the State had 39 cm of rainfall against the normal of about 34 cm. The northeast monsoon was bountiful as 71 cm was registered against 45 cm. Totally, during 2021, the State received about 138 cm of rainfall as against the average of 94 cm.
Consequently, the 15 major irrigation reservoirs had comfortable storage. As on March 15 (Tuesday), their storage was equal to nearly two-thirds of their combined capacity, In other words, the reservoirs had storage of about 132 thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft). As regards the realisation of Cauvery water, the State received about 249 tmc ft (as on March 13), which was 78 tmc ft more than the quantum prescribed by the Supreme Court for the year that commenced on June 1. Another reason for the higher paddy coverage is the well established system of procurement at the rate of Minimum Support Price (MSP), combined with the State government’s incentive.
In pulses, the State has recorded about 30,000 hectares more than what it did last year. Totally, about 8.15 lakh hectares has been covered. An official said the government is keen on promoting the crop in a big way.
Among non-foodgrain agricultural crops, sugarcane was planted on about 34,000 more hectares this year.