ERODE: Farmers in Burgur hills are worried about their food security as incessant rains destroyed more than 3,000 acres of millet, which is their staple diet. Now, they fear they will have to live on rice supplied through PDS shops.
"The rains started pouring heavily when the crop was ready to be harvested. Because of it, the yield started sprouting. Once it sprouted, the ragi cannot be used even to feed cattle. We are searching the entire field to find out if there is any portion of the crop that has not sprouted so that we can keep it for our own use," said Kannama, a farmer.
The farmers in the rain-fed region said they spent at least Rs 15,000 per acre towards labour cost, fertilizers and seeds. They took turns to protect their crops from wild boars and elephants in the hope of getting a good yield. The Forest department should take measures to resolve the problems and stop farmers from cultivating cash crops in the forest boundaries, which lure the wild animals out, they demanded.
For the hill people, it's not just about the fall of income but also food security. "The finger millet is their staple diet. We have been urging the government to procure ragi as many farmers cultivating the crop have started shifting to cash crops. Ragi is an ideal food for people living in hill areas as it has high calcium content and is easily digestible. The government should assess the damage and provide the farmers with compensation swiftly," said VP Gunasekaran, President of Tamil Nadu Pazhankudi Makkal Sangam.