Downpour hits 1L hectares of samba paddy, farmers seek procurement norms relaxation

Mayiladuthurai and Karaikal say paddy in maturing and flowering stages has either become levelled, lodged or inundated due to the rains.

Published: 03rd February 2023 05:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd February 2023 05:27 AM   |  A+A-

Rain-hit samba paddy in a field near Mayiladuthurai on Thursday | Express

Express News Service

NAGAPATTINAM/MAYILADUTHURAI/KARAIKAL:  Samba paddy cultivation over as much as one lakh hectares in the coastal delta districts has borne the brunt of the rainfall lashing the region over the past two days. Apprehensive of the impact, farmers have voiced demands to relax the moisture content norms during procurement. Farmers from across the districts of Nagapattinam,

Mayiladuthurai and Karaikal say paddy in maturing and flowering stages has either become levelled, lodged or inundated due to the rains. About 35,000 hectares in the Mayiladuthurai district, 41,000 hectares in the Nagapattinam district and 4,000 hectares in the Karaikal district have been hit by the rains. Farmers, in haste to reap crops before seed germination, expressed distress over the rise in demand for farm machinery.

"We cannot reap amid heavy downpour. Once the rain recedes, we would need track-model harvesters to undertake harvest in the damp fields. We do not always get machines from the government agricultural engineering department and private rental operators charge exorbitant rates," said K Ramalingam, a farmer from Ivanallur in Mayiladuthurai block.

S R Tamil Selvan, a farmer from Palaiayur in Nagapattinam block, said, "The district administration must provide us with more harvesters machines. The government must form special teams to inspect and provide relief." Earlier, farmers from Nagapattinam had raised demands for the reopening of the Mettur dam for irrigation purposes. However, the unseasonal rains came down more as a bane than boon, farmers said.

"Samba crops in the harvest stage have been more affected than thaladi crops in flowering stages. We are still estimating the impact," said J Akhandarao, the joint director of the agriculture department in Nagapattinam.

Meanwhile, farmers in Karaikal, whose produce is currently being procured directly by the Food Corporation of India (FCI), expressed concerns over maintaining the prescribed moisture content level. They had requested the FCI not to reject their paddy for procurement over moisture content norms. P Rajenthiran, the leader of Karaikal Regional Farmers Welfare Association, said,

"We may not be able to maintain a moisture content of less than 17%. We are forced to sell our produce to private traders. We request the FCI to relax the moisture content norms," said P Rajenthiran, the leader of Karaikal Regional Farmers Welfare Association.

P G Somu, another farmer representative, said, "The rains have dented the chances of cultivating cotton and pulses. We request the Puducherry government to provide us with crop relief."


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