THANJAVUR: A marginal drop is likely to be recorded in the district’s summer paddy coverage this year when compared to last year.
Apart from the regular Kuruvai and Samba-Thaladi seasons, farmers in the district with energised pump set facilities usually go in for short-term summer paddy cultivation. The paddy transplanted from January 1 to March 31 is considered summer paddy. With the cut-off date ending on Thursday, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Department officials said there might be a marginal drop in summer paddy acreage.
“As the exact enumeration will take a few more days, preliminary estimates indicate that around 15,000 hectares have been brought under summer paddy. This is less than last year’s coverage of 17,863 hectares,” an official told TNIE.
Concurring with the official estimate, S Natarajan, a farmer from Orathanadu, said farmers in the area did not take up the cultivation enthusiastically like last year. Various reasons are attributed to the drop. “As there was a campaign by the department to cultivate pulses after Samba harvest, several farmers went in for black gram cultivation,” an official said.
Black gram has been cultivated over 35,000 hectares this year, which is double the acreage of that last year. Another reason is a rumour that direct purchase centres (DPC) would not be operational when summer paddy is harvested. Though this was denied by officials, some farmers, who bought seeds for summer cultivation, were reluctant to proceed, an official said.
However, Sivakumar, a farmer from Tirukkattupalli, said that as the rumour was scotched, some of those farmers who were initially reluctant, started sowing paddy. A section of farmers has been preferring summer paddy over Kuruvai cultivation as during harvest of the latter, the northeast monsoon would set in and could affect crop. Besides, summer paddy is likely to not be affected by pests due to the scorching sun.