THANJAVUR: Kuruvai harvesting has officially drawn to a close in the district and a total of 2.2 lakh tonnes of paddy have so far been procured through the direct purchase centres (DPC), which is an increase of about 11.67% from the 1.97 lakh tonnes procured last year. While officials point to a dip in average yield, the record coverage this year is among the main reasons cited for the increase in paddy procurement by the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation (TNCSC).
Enthused by the early release (May 24) of water from Mettur dam as against the customary date of June 12 for aiding irrigation of kuruvai cultivation in Cauvery delta districts, farmers in Thanjavur cultivated the seasonal paddy over 72,816 hectares this year, which is a record in the past 49 years.
The average crop yield during this kuruvai season, however, is 5,600 kg per hectare as compared to last year’s 6,400 kg per hectare, pointed out officials. “The dip in yield is due to the unseasonal rains during kuruvai season this year,” said S Kumar, a farmer of Orathanadu. Several farmers also sold off their paddy to private traders due to moisture content problems, he added.
Despite the dip in yield, the increased crop acreage this year is attributed for the marginal increase in procurement by DPCs. It may be noted that last year kuruvai paddy was cultivated over around 66,000 hectares. The other reason cited is the early commencement of procurement i.e. September 1 as against October 1.
Meanwhile, TNCSC sources said of the total 2.2 lakh tonnes of paddy procured in the district, 1.20 lakh tonnes have already been moved to various districts for hulling at modern rice mills (MRM) and converting it into rice for public distribution. On Thursday itself 2,000 tonnes of paddy were loaded in 42 railway wagons for transporting to Chennai for hulling, they added.
Further, during peak kuruvai paddy procurement season this year as many as 291 DPCs were functioning. As on November 10 the number has reduced to 91 DPCs to continue procuring paddy, if any, from farmers, officials pointed out.