After facing drought for the past few months, the sugarcane farmers are upbeat over the rains lashing the area for the last couple of days.
They are hoping that the rains would continue for some more days. Joseph Thomas T T, member, Marayur panchayat, said that, the farmers were worried over the delay in the onset of monsoon.
The 800-odd farmers in Marayur and Kanthaloor panchayats were in dire straits due to poor rain, he added.
Sugarcane cultivation is done in about 1500 hectares in Marayur and Kanthaloor. Joseph said that normally the area used to get good summer and monsoon rains. But this time both were poor. According to him, the Forest Department has planted Eucalyptus trees in the mountains around the sugarcane farms. The heavy water consumption by these trees has made the farms dry, he said. Each tree supposedly consumes 60 litres of water each day.
The sugarcane cultivation and harvesting is done throughout the year. The cultivation is done in a phased manner and the harvest is carried out at regular intervals. Some farmers who had done cultivation by taking loan suffered to some extent owing to poor rains, he said.
However, the farmers in the area had benefited from the `5 crore allotted to sugarcane farmers under the Idukki package. They were given `22,000 per acre.