Paddy cultivation in the Cauvery delta is down by around 10,600 hectares during the current season of Samba-Thaladi-Pishanam from the previous year.
In all, 3,61,855 hectares have been covered with paddy this time, as against 3,72,480 hectares last year. The drop has been attributed mainly to the reduction in coverage in Cuddalore (around 6,000 hectares), Tiruvarur (5,500 hectares), Nagapattinam (4,200 hectares), Pudukkottai (4,000 hectares) and Mayiladuthurai (1,900 hectares).
Unseasonal rain in parts of the delta is said to have brought the area under paddy down. But for Tiruvarur recording an increase of nearly 20,000 hectares under direct sowing this year, the overall coverage would have been much lower. Of 3,61,855 hectares of paddy coverage, areas under direct sowing account for 1,36,232 hectares, about 13,700 hectares higher than what was achieved last year. Harvesting was completed in nearly 1.75 lakh hectares as on Monday (February 20), according to a report of the Agriculture Department.
With regard to Thaladi, the coverage, at 1,88,402 hectares, is more by about 20,800 hectares. Harvesting has been carried out in approximately 63,600 hectares.
As for the non-delta region where the cultivation season is called either Samba or Pishanam, this year’s coverage is around 9.33 lakh hectares as against 9.47 lakh hectares last year. The drop has been attributed to the rain under the northeast monsoon not matching the expectation in parts of the southern districts, such as Ramanathapuram and Sivaganga. In fact, Ramanathapuram received 28% less rainfall.
The overall coverage for the State is around 12.95 lakh hectares this time against about 13.19 lakh hectares in the previous year.
As a result, rice production is estimated to be around 78 lakh tonnes, down from about 80 lakh tonnes last year. Millets and pulses are expected to be in excess this time by at least 5 lakh tonnes and about 40,000 tonnes respectively than the previous year. In view of the unseasonal rainfall in parts of the delta, rice production may dip further. An official, however, hopes the variation will not be perceptible.