Rice producers in parts of Tiruvannamalai district have been badly hit by crop failure as some varieties of paddy seeds failed to flower despite growing well.
The crop failure has left the farmers in dire straits as they stand to incur huge losses.
“I raised paddy in five acres of land. The plant had grown well but did not flower,” said Balamurugan, a farmer in Mandakolathur.
“I approached a few local agriculture department officers but they did not visit my field for inspection,” he said.
“I had no other option but to remove the plants as they turned unproductive. It cost me nearly Rs 1.30 lakh,” Balamurugan lamented.
Another farmer, G Mani of Santhavasal, has also been facing the same problem. “It is not flowering. The shoot is getting discoloured,” he said. He has grown paddy in two and a half acres of land.
Several other farmers in Polur, Kalambur, Santhavasal and Mandakolathur areas have been affected by crop failure. They have sowed seed varieties of 45 and ADT 43.
Picking a seed variety that does not suit the season was stated to be the factor behind the crop failure which is being examined by agriculture department officers and scientists from the Agricultural College and Research Institute, Vazhavachanur, in the district.
“We have inspected fields in certain places. The examination of the plants is still going on. Agricultural scientists are also on it,” joint director of agriculture Murugan told The New Indian Express.
He said the affected farmers have purchased seeds produced in Andhra Pradesh eyeing a high yield but farmers countered this by saying when the desired seeds are unavailable, it is natural to buy whatever is there in the market.
“The officers are not providing the required varieties. So, naturally they look for varieties that are available in the market to get more yield,” rued A Udhayakumar, district treasurer, Tamil Nadu Farmers Association.
A team of officials including Deputy Director of Seed Certification G Somu and Dean of Agricultural College and Research Institute Dr M Pandiyan inspected the fields for the fourth time on Thursday.
Talking to The New Indian Express, Somu said, “The seeds they have used are photosynthetic sensitive. During the last Samba season, they harvested a good yield, but without being aware of the environmental problems, they again opted for it in Sornavari.”
About 160 farmers have been hit. Officials are exploring the possibility of compensation.
“We have spoken to the company that supplied the seeds. We have to see whether the farmers can be compensated for the crop failure,” the DD said.