TIRUPPUR: As several tomato farmers lost their crops to the recent heavy showers, some have suggested that setting up support structures like pandals could keep stems and fruits off the ground and prevent rot caused by waterlogging.
Tomato is widely cultivated across Udumalaipet, Gudimangalam and Palladam. S Palanisamy, a farmer in Chittampalayam in Palladam taluk who salvaged his crop by setting up pandal, explained the advantages of the method.
"Pandal helps tomato withstand rains and strong winds and prevents rot in root and stems. I spent Rs 30,000-40,000 per acre on erecting the pandal, which also effectively supports the weight of the plant. One can cultivate more than 6,000 saplings by this method," he said.
Kanthakumar, a farmer in Karadivavi in Palladam, said that he lost three acres of the crop to waterlogging. "I cultivated in November and had spent Rs 10,000 for the initial growth of the crop. I was waiting to harvest by the end of December, but rains dashed my hopes. Many farmers in the area too lost their crops," he said.
According to Tamil Nadu Farmers Association (Tiruppur) vice president SR Madhusoodan, many farmers had not set up pandals, despite being aware of its advantages.
"The crop is usually tied to a support structure or caged inside a round fence-like structure to keep the
stems and fruits off the ground. However, most of the farmers, despite knowing its advantages, had not created it thinking it would cost high. As they didn't take it seriously, they had to sustain heavy losses due to rains and waterlogging,' he said.
A Horticulture department official said, "We encourage setting up of pandal for tomato crop. We even offer a subsidy of Rs 12,000 per hectare. But, many farmers feel the assistance is meagre and ignore the pandal set-up. We will organise more awareness programmes in Tiruppur district in the upcoming weeks on the importance of support structures."