Output and quality of crops in Ernakulam affected

High temperatures can disrupt pollen production and affect the development of flowers and fruits in crops like beans, tomato, pepper, and pumpkin.
A wilted pineapple farm at Manjaloor in Muvattupuzha
A wilted pineapple farm at Manjaloor in MuvattupuzhaPhoto | Express

KOCHI: Drought-like conditions in Ernakulam district are expected to reduce the yield of various crops, with over 20,000 farmers facing what they describe as one of the toughest summers on record.

Thomas Varghese, president of the Muvattupuzha Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi (KVVES), voiced concerns about pineapple farming. He lamented the challenges faced this year, highlighting complete drying of the pineapple crop nearing harvest, resulting in significant loss of time, capital and effort.

“Additionally, the scorching heat has compromised the quality of the produce. The projected profit of Rs 3 lakh per acre has now turned into a distant dream,” he added.

High temperatures can disrupt pollen production and affect the development of flowers and fruits in crops like beans, tomato, pepper, and pumpkin.

Joshy Paul, assistant agricultural officer at Vyttila Krishi Bhavan, explained that moisture stress affects flowers first, leading to severe water absorption issues and eventually leaf shedding.

Deputy director of agriculture Fancy Parameshwar highlighted the significant impact on major crops such as banana, nutmeg, pineapple, and pepper.

She added that pineapple yields may only be a quarter of usual output. She emphasised the importance of extending canal irrigation facilities to areas currently without them, which could significantly aid in sustaining agriculture during the summer months.

“While Ernakulam is relatively fortunate due to better irrigation, considerable damage has been reported, especially in regions like Angamaly, Thuravoor, Kalady, Elanji, and Kothamangalam,” she added.

Alongside the heat, the plants are also vulnerable to pest infections and virus attacks. Recommendations include using bio-control agents like wasps and adopting shading and intercropping methods.

Priyamol, a farmer from Kothamangalam, expressed concerns about the drop in water levels, emphasising the importance of preparing coconut trees for the upcoming summer.

Paul noted that while plants can withstand heat to some extent, drought and water scarcity pose more significant threats due to increased carbon dioxide levels and reduced moisture content.

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