NAMAKKAL: Heeding requests, the State government has decided to construct a facility in the district to store Korai grass (Cyperus corymbosus).
Farmers engaged in Korai grass cultivation had alleged that Union and State governments did not provide them subsidies or other benefits despite repeated appeals and expressed concerns over falling price. The grass is cultivated in Mohanur, Oruvandur, Pandamangalam, Jedarpalayam, Edaiyaru, Manapalli.
Joint Director (JD) of Agriculture P Asokan told TNIE, "In the past, we considered the crop as a weed. But, as the farmers made multiple requests during farmers' meetings, we have planned to construct a Korai grass storage godown at either Paramathy Velur or Mohanur."
The facility would help farmers store their grass and sell it when they get a reasonable price in the market, the JD said adding that they have started the search for a suitable location to set up the storage facility. He also made it clear that there was no plant o provide any subsidy for the farmers.
T Prakasam, a 36-year-old farmer from Mohanur, lamented the shortage of manpower for agrarian activities. He said, "As using machinery for harvest is not feasible, we depend on only manpower. Though they have a chance to earn up to `500, no one is ready to work in farm fields because of MGNREGS."
Korai grass is bundled and dispatched to mat manufacturing units in Karur and surrounding areas, according to K Narayanan, another farmer. He rued that the prices for grass, which stood at `1,500 per bundle a couple of years ago, had dropped to `800-1,000 now. "Owing to lack of subsidy, poor price and field-related disadvantages, many farmers are not interested in the grass cultivation. After decades, the State government has come forward to build storage facilities. Though it's late, we still welcome the initiative," the farmer said.
Korai grass cultivation area in Namakkal district
Year - area (in hectares)
2017-18 - 1,121
2018-19 - 1,046
2019-20 - 1,030
2020-21 - 1,609
2021-22 (till September) - 965