The Agricultural Department is all set to begin puncha cultivation in Kuttanad. The Kerala State Seed Development Authority has collected around 800 tonnes of seeds for the cultivation. The authority has collected about 26,604 sacks of seeds from Palakkad and Kuttanad region for puncha farming. Seed varieties such as Jyothi, Uma and Kanjana were collected from the Punnappara seed godown.
The seeds will be distributed to the farmers through the Agricultural Department. The Agricultural Department collected seeds from National Seed Development Authority, State Seed Development Authority and the Karnataka Seed Development Authority. “Farming in around 26,000 hectares puncha can be expected,” said Principal Agricultural Officer K Babu.
“The state government will allot a subsidy of `4,000 per hectare for buying seeds. If the farmers will buy the seeds from the State Seed Authority, an additional subsidy of `5 per kg will be given to farmers,” the principal agricultural officer said.
He said that there is no need to approach private agencies for seeds.
“The farmers can submit application for seeds to the agricultural offices through padasekhara samitis. If the farmers are using the seeds prepared by themselves, they can avail themselves of subsidies through e-payment,” he said.
The officer denied the allegations regarding shortage of seeds for puncha farming. According to seed quality analyst C Unnikrishnan,the KSSDA has collected around 26,604 bags of seeds weighing 30 kg per sack in the seed complex for the ‘puncha’ farming.
“We conducted two rounds of checking of seeds in the seed laboratory. The sprouting capacity of the seeds was tested. If any problem is detected, we will replace the seeds,” he said.
For puncha cultivation, the farmers have strengthened the outer bunds with conventional methods using clays.
In some kayal lands, the outer bunds were constructed using the pile and slab method as part of the Kuttanad package. The water pumping from the paddy polders was almost complete in the area. Last season, the puncha farming was a great success.
The Civil Supplies Corporation has collected around 1,25,000 tone paddy from the district.
The corporation had distributed `187 crore as the price of the paddy to the farmers. This year, the procurement price of paddy have been increased from `15 to `17 a kg.