COIMBATORE: Farmers doing pandal vegetable cultivation have started changing their crop pattern due to less yield, spread of diseases and rising input costs for the cultivation in the recent times. Most of the farmers from Thondamuthur and Perur block have left their pandal (wire net erected with the support of stone pillars or wooden logs) structure without cultivating or reduced their cultivation land.
R Periyasamy, district vice president of Tamilaga Vivasayigal Sangam, said, "Vegetables such as bottle gourd, bitter gourd, Chinese Okra and snake gourd are cultivating using Pandal structure. Around 450 stone pillars and one ton of iron wire is needed for erecting the structure on one acre of land. Earlier, most farmers made the structure for cultivating grapes. However, we later changed to use the structure for vegetables."
Earlier, a stone pillar that is used to erect a pandal structure only costed Rs 200. Now, it is Rs 700. Similarly, the cost of iron wire has increased multifold, he added.
"Input cost for the pandal cultivation comes around a minimum of Rs 1.25 lakh per acre. It is a 90 days crop. Earlier farmers were getting a yield of at least 9-12 tons from an acre. But, now there is not much yield and farmers are struggling to get back even the input cost. As per our calculation, pandal cultivation has come down to 4,000 acres from 15,000 acres in the last one decade," he said.
M Mohankumar, a farmer from Narasipuram said, "I used to cultivate in pandal structure in my 5.5 acres of land. Now, I left my land without any cultivation. During monsoon season we will get good yield but the price will be very low. In summer, the yield will drop due to diseases. All of us are using hybrid seeds. In recent times, the quality of seeds is also very poor. If we buy one kg seeds for an acre, only half kg has a germination capacity. For 50 grams of seeds, we spend Rs 750."
R Ashokkumar, a farmer from Theethipalayam said that he has reduced the cultivation of pandal vegetables from four acres to one acre in the last one year. He said that he is going to dismantle the structure to include other vegetables' cultivation.