THANJAVUR: Even as the farmers of the Cauvery delta district have enthusiastically taken up Kuruvai paddy cultivation after water was released from Mettur on June 12, they are now facing an acute scarcity of urea. They fear loss of yield in the short-term Kuruvai crop owing to delayed application of fertilizer.
Farmers of Thanjavur district have cultivated Kuruvai on 1.65 lakh acres, exceeding the target of 1.05 lakh acres. The excess coverage is attributed to the timely release of water and special Kuruvai package of incentives announced by the State government. However, the farmers are now a worried lot.
P Sukumaran, a farmer of Tirupoonthurthi in Thanjavur district, said, "After transplanting the paddy nursery, farmers used to de-weed on 15th and 30th day and apply urea after de-weeding. As urea is not available at government depots or with private traders, farmers are worried about the yield coming down."
G Srinivasan, a leading farmer from Ganapathy Agraharam, said that a delay in de-weeding and applying fertilizer for Kuruvai paddy would not only lead to reduced yield but also delay harvest. "This delay poses a danger of Kuruvai paddy getting drenched during north east monsoon rains during harvest, thereby resulting in loss of grain. The government should distribute fertiliser on without any delay and help us," he added.
Sami Natarajan, a farmer from Thennamanadu near Orathanadu, pointed out that 22 days have passed since the transplanting of Kuruvai nursery in his field. "Urea should have been applied on the 15th day of transplantation. I was selected for the special Kuruvai package scheme announced by the government, but I am yet to receive the package. Though the other components of the package like potash and DAP are available with the cooperative society, officials say all the components, including urea, would be released only as a set. Officials are waiting for urea supply," he said.
Input retailers also said there has been a shortage of supply of urea from manufacturers. "Some manufacturers release urea only if we buy other products like micro nutrients," a retail trader of fertiliser said. Due to limited stock, they sell it only to their regular customers and not those from other villages. Farmers from Orathanadu area travel long distances to buy urea in towns like Pattukkottai, Karambakkudi and Uranipuram. But even there the stock is not available now, Sami Natarajan said.
When contacted, A Justin, Joint Director of Agriculture, Thanjavur district, said a rake of railway wagons with 900 tonnes of urea arrived at Thanjavur. "This will be distributed from Thursday and the demand for urea will be met by this week. Another rake of wagons with urea is expected from Karaikkal in a few days."
As regards distribution of Kuruvai package inputs, the Joint Director said 65 per cent of farmers were distributed thinputs under the scheme and the remaining will get it in a day.