90% Kharif crops flooded in Kerala’s rice bowl

The paddy production in the state is expected to diminish by 50,000 tonnes in the coming harvesting season.

Published: 22nd July 2018 09:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd July 2018 09:43 AM   |  A+A-

A motorcyclist wades through flooded road in Kuttanad | ARUN ANGELA

ALAPPUZHA: The agriculture sector has suffered a huge loss, thanks to flood in Kuttanad during the incessant rains Kerala has witnessed. Ninety per cent of paddy fields in which Kharif farming was done is underwater in Kuttanad, known as Kerala’s rice bowl. The paddy production in the state is expected to diminish by 50,000 tonnes in the coming harvesting season. The second-term farming was carried out in 9,907 hectares in the district and around 90 per cent of the cultivation is under water, said Beena Natesh, principal agriculture officer.

“Paddy has resistance to flooding up to a maximum of five days, but this time, entire paddy polders are flooded for the past three days. Farming was carried out in 145 polders and around 140 are underwater. Out of which 41 have been destroyed after the collapse of bunds. The department has calculated a preliminary loss of Rs 5 crore. However, the amount is likely to increase. So the exact loss could be calculated after the flood water recedes,” Beena said. The expected production of rice in Kharif season is  50,000 tonnes, but it will become zero due to the flood, Beena said.

Mini S Nair, assistant director, Agriculture Department, Ramankari, said the entire cultivation in Ramankari and Chambakulam area covering more than 10 panchayats were destroyed in the flood. “Almost all the paddy polders are under water. Out of 5,650 hectares of paddy fields, 5,500 are underwater. Many paddy polders in the area were destroyed after the breaching of bunds and it will take more time to drain out water,” Mini said.

Joseph, a farmer from Pulinkunnu, said the loss is above the calculations of the department. “The department has calculated only two-thirds of the original loss. Many farmers carried out farming after taking land for lease. The lease amount and our hard work will not be included in the loss. Very few farmers have insured their crop, so the intervention of the government is a must for the revival of cultivation,” he said. 

Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar said the government will consider the demand to allot more relief to the farmers who suffered loss due to flood. “The government will examine the possibility for allotting extra relief. The expenditure for reconstructing bunds will be allotted from the government fund,” the minister said. The water level in the low-lying areas of Alappuzha district still remains high although the strength of the rain is on the wane.

A 71-year-old man died in Thalavadi due to a rain-related mishap earlier this week. Varghese Eapan, Karukapallil house, of Thalavadi panchayat died when he was being shifted to a relief camp in a country boat from his flooded house by rescue operators. The body was shifted to the Government Hospital, Edathua. 

Crop loss in Thrissur district
The crop loss in Thrissur district due to the heavy rain has been put at Rs 7.41 crore, according to a statement from the district administration. Lashing showers accompanied by high-velocity gusts damaged crops in 174.16 hectares.

Farming hit in Palakkad
Water-logging due to incessant rain have also affected paddy crops in Chittur and Alathur taluks of Palakkad district in the state. “In Alathur and Chittur taluks, many saplings have been washed away and the farmers need to replant them. Unfortunately, the farmers do not have seeds to prepare the seed beds all over again. Therefore, the government should initiate efforts to supply seeds through Krishi Bhavans in rain-affected areas,” said Desiya Karshaka Samajam general secretary Muthalmthode Mani.

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