Pigs munch on little hopes these TN farmers had

The farmers say that pigs mainly come in search of the maize fields, and trample other fields on their way.

Published: 16th July 2023 08:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th July 2023 08:12 AM   |  A+A-

Representational Image. (File | EPS)

Representational Image. (File | EPS)

Express News Service

THOOTHUKUDI: Farmers of Pudur and Ettayapuram blocks are a troubled lot, for feral pigs have been plaguing the agriculture fields, damaging crops in the rain-fed tracts of the district. A retired forest official pegged the reason for the increased menace of pigs in recent years on the migration of people belonging to Narikuravar and Kattunayakan communities, leaving behind their pigs.

The farmers in Mavilipatti, Alagapuri, Ayan Karisal Kulam, Keelnattukurichi, Melakaranthai, Thapathi, Ayan Vadamalapuram of Ettayapuram taluk located on the northern banks of Vaippar river and Muthalapuram, Nandhipuram, Sinthalakarai, Duraisamy puram, Venkateswarapuram, Raman Oothu, Na Valakampatti, Kummareddiarpuram and Puthupatti on the south bank of the river are all grappling with the menace.

Referring to the powers delegated to the forest rangers and foresters to cull wild boar that damage crops in northern districts, the farmers sought similar measures to control country pigs too.The agriculture pattern in the rain-fed track of Vilathikulam, Ettayapuram, and Pudur followed by the farmers is short-term crops during the rabi season.

The farmers in the area cultivate groundnut in August (Adi); Makka Cholam (maize) and cotton in September (Avani); Cholam, green gram and black gram in October (Puratasi); cumbu, coriander leaves, and sunflower in November (Ayipasi-Karthigai). The maize crops are harvested after 120 days, while other crops are harvested as early as 70 to 100 days.

The farmers say that pigs mainly come in search of the maize fields, and trample other fields on their way.
A farmer who cultivated coriander leaves on 10 acres of land at Ayan Vadamalapuram said the pigs barge into the farms in huge numbers and damage them even though they don’t eat it.

Karisal farmer association leader A Varadharajan said the damages caused by the pigs are extensive. He recounted that the maize farmers were previously plagued by the Fall Armyworm (FAW), drought, and then by a spell of incessant rains, and now they are affected by the country pigs.

Failed techniques

Though the farmers have tried various methods like playing aloud the barking sound of dogs through speakers and fencing the farms with mesh to keep pigs at bay, all their efforts went in vain. A few have even tried to hunt down the pigs using dogs like Chippiparai and Kanni,  but to no avail.

A farmer seeking on condition of anonymity said he along with others had hired 200 Chippiparai dogs and hunters from Poosaripatti near Rajapalayam in Virudhunagar and had hunted down over 250 pigs on a single day. “The hunters charged them Rs 40,000 in total, which is very expensive,” he said, adding the pigs were also aggressive as four Chippiparai dogs were killed in the raid.

Claiming that the forest and the revenue officials are mum on the issue, the farmers alleged despite carrying out a survey no action has been taken yet to disburse compensation for crop damage.
The forest officials said the crop damages are caused by pigs, called feral pigs. “The forest department can provide relief only for the damage caused by wild pigs,” they said.

The state government should take effective steps to sort out the pig menace before the onset of the rabi crop cultivation and give compensation for the crop damage caused by country pigs, the farmers demanded.

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