Tamil Nadu

T.N. completes harvest on 2.13 lakh hectares of land during COVID-19 lockdown

A farmer at work in a paddy field at Walajabad in Kancheepuram district.

A farmer at work in a paddy field at Walajabad in Kancheepuram district.   | Photo Credit: K.V. Srinivasan

Pulses accounted for 73,000 hectares followed by cereals 59,000 hectares and millets 55,400 hectares

The early phase of the lockdown imposed on account of the COVID-19 pandemic — March 25 and April 14 — saw harvesting being taken up on around 10,000 hectares of farm lands in the State every day. Totally, harvesting of various crops, including paddy, was completed on about 2.13 lakh hectares in three weeks in the State.

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The season being summer, naturally harvesting of pulses accounted for the maximum of 73,000 hectares. This was followed by cereals on nearly 59,000 hectares and millets 55,400 hectares.

Of the remaining area, oilseeds were harvested from over about 21,000 hectares; sugarcane 4,560 hectares and cotton 530 hectares, according to data available with the State Agriculture Department.

Area up by 50%

Even otherwise, during the current year’s summer season (March-May), the extent of area sown by agricultural crops this year is over 50% higher than what the State achieved during the 2019 summer. As against the previous year’s area-sown figure of about 2.66 lakh hectares, it is 4.071 lakh hectares this time. Of this, the share of pulses is about 1.5 lakh hectares; paddy 1.4 lakh hectares; oilseeds 55,900 hectares; millets 27,400; cotton 16,900 hectares; sugarcane 13,000 hectares and maize 10,500 hectares.

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Asked whether the pandemic played any role in higher coverage, Principal Secretary (Agriculture) Gagandeep Singh Bedi replied in the negative. But better availability of groundwater was one of the contributory factors. “From the beginning, we have been driving home the point that agricultural activity should go on without hindrance even while adhering to norms of physical distancing. This might have helped,” Mr. Bedi pointed out.

To ensure that fertilizers were sold at the doorstep of farmers, the department is operating 50 vehicles, covering 18 districts. Nearly 65,000 kg of different items of fertilizers such as urea and DAP were sold so far, benefiting 265 farmers. At present, the department has got a stock of around 1.06 lakh tonnes of urea; nitrogen phosphate and potash composition (NPK) — 1.96 lakh tonnes; Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) — 83,000 tonnes and muriate of potash (MOP) — 60,000 tonnes. As for seeds, the stock lying with the government is around 11,800 tonnes for various crops, of which paddy accounts for about 9,600 tonnes. The private sector has got a stock of seeds for over 6,600 tonnes, including paddy for 4,860 tonnes.

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Printable version | Jul 6, 2020 10:09:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tn-completes-harvest-on-213-lakh-hectares-of-land-during-covid-19-lockdown/article31358506.ece

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