TAMIL NADU

Heavy rain affects paddy harvesting in Cumbum valley

K. Raju

THENI: Heavy rain that lashed the district for the past two days, signalling early commencement of the northeast monsoon, has affected harvesting of paddy in double cropping area of Cumbum valley in the district.

Paddy grown in thousands of acres in the valley is ready for harvesting. Harvesting is in full swing in Uthamapalayam, Chinnamanur, Cumbum, Goodalur and other areas of the valley.

With good rain and sufficient storage in the dams, farmers have expected bumper yield this year. Buyers from Karnataka and Kerala and northern parts of the State have started thronging the valley for on-the-field procurement.

“But sudden rain has not only dampened our hopes but also reduced the prices of the paddy,” said farmers.

Paddy drenched in rainwater will not fetch better price as buyers rejected it as poor quality. Already, shortage of labour and harvesting machines has delayed harvesting process, they added.

“Rain would not only delay harvesting work but also spoil the produce.”

Lack of infrastructure for stocking paddy is a biggest handicap for small and tiny farmers. Packing is done in the field itself. Farmers are forced to sell the produce on the day of harvesting. With no stocking facility, buyers pressurise farmers to sell at lower prices.

Many farmers associations have been demanding constitution of paddy procurement centre to enable farmers to get better price for their produce.

Kombai, Seelayampatti, Chinnamanur, Pannaipuram, K.K. Patti, Anumanthampatti and Veerpandi were a major agri-labour labour base. Migration of labour and massive SHG movement has reduced number of labour in these areas to small groups. Steep labour costs too force farmers to shift to harvesting machines.

But this rain is a blessing to farmers living in rain fed areas. It will certainly benefit 90,000 hectares of rainfed areas, said farmers. Delay in the onset of the monsoon had already irked farmers. Many farmers left their lands barren. Some farmers who had sown corn, sorghum, millet, cotton, pulses and oil seeds and other rainfed crops are keeping their fingers cross, expecting possible rain during this monsoon. But the district had received only 90.8 mm so far this month. Depletion water in irrigation tanks and wells dashed all their hopes. But the sudden showers bring cheers to farmers in rain-fed lands.

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