TIRUCHY: Kuruvai cultivation is off to a sluggish start in the district. Farmers in Lalgudi, Manachanallur, Musiri, Andanallur and Thiruverumbur, that are close to the Cauvery, have taken up cultivation using groundwater and most of them have preferred the short-term varieties like Co51. A few NGOs are training farmers on farming with using less water.
K Balraj, Joint Director of Agriculture, Tiruchy, said, “Though we have been set a target of 4,000 hectares for kuruvai, we expect cultivation on around 6,000 acres because of water scarcity.”
He added, “farmers are opting for short-duration, high-yield Co51 variety of paddy which gives 10 per cent more grain than the ADT-43 variety. The average yield potential of the Co51 variety is 2,650 kg per acre.”
Balraj added that the department has in stock 34 tonnes of CO51-certified seeds in all agricultural extension centres in blocks like Lalgudi, Andanallur, Musiri, Thiruverumbur and Manachanallur. The seeds are being distributed at a subsidised price of Rs 20 per kg.
Praveen, of Isha Foundation said, “Due to the prevailing water scarcity issues, farmers across the district are facing hardship in starting kuruvai cultivation and also to save their existing crops. Thus, Esha has been hosting training programmes for farmers to explain how to cultivate using a minimal amount of water.”
A Meenakshi Sundaram Arasu, assistant professor, Irrigation Management Training Institute, Tiruchy, said, “Farmers are concerned about the depleting groundwater across the district as it is the only irrigation source for kuruvai cultivation. Farmers can opt to use the wet and dry method of providing water to the crop when primary cracks are seen in the field. Through such methods, farmers can cultivate with less water.”