TIRUCHY: As part of a special scheme to make fallow land cultivable, Agriculture department converted almost 1,200 hectares in the district. Thanks to generous rainfall, farmers have cultivated paddy, groundnut and pulses this season.
Because of irrigation issues in the past, thousands of hectares were left fallow.
In October, following Kudimaramathu works, the Agriculture department came up with the plan of converting fallow land into cultivatable land.
The department plans to increase the present 1.13 lakh hectares of cultivable land to 1.15 lakh hectares by converting the fallow land.
On the 1,200 hectares already converted, farmers sowed paddy and other crops this season after missing out in the past.
Rajeshwaran, Deputy Director, Agriculture department, said, “A massive area in Manikandan block was left barren over the past couple of seasons.
Through various schemes, we have constructed check dams and farm ponds in the areas. With the copious rainfall increasing irrigation tanks in the district, we have persuaded farmers to return to agriculture.”
With the available water table in the irrigation tanks, many farmers showed interest in cultivating paddy.
So far, 47,000 hectares are under paddy cultivation this season.
With the non-delta blocks now witnessing sporadic rainfall, more land is now expected to come under paddy cultivation.
Marimuthu, a farmer from the Manikandam area, said, “Because of factors like irrigation and soil salinity, we gave up agriculture and left our lands barren five seasons ago. This season, there has been excellent rainfall and a strong flow of water in the canals, which is why we have returned to farming after being advised by the Agriculture Department. As we are starting the season a bit late, we have sowed short-duration (90 days) paddy varieties this season.”
Officials, meanwhile, said the changing weather could pose problems and affect paddy saplings.