Farmers in Nagapattinam demand government support for samba cultivation

Hence, farmers demand a special package for samba cultivation, which they can utilise if they receive the river water later this year.
Farmers undertaking cultivation in a village near Nagapattinam
Farmers undertaking cultivation in a village near Nagapattinam Photo | Express

NAGAPATTINAM: A large section of farmers in the district are unable to avail the benefits of the state government’s special kuruvai special package as the lack of River Cauvery water dissuaded them from undertaking the seasonal cultivation.

Hence, farmers demand a special package for samba cultivation, which they can utilise if they receive the river water later this year. On June 14, the state government announced the kuruvai special package worth Rs 78.67 crore.

Under the scheme, kuruvai paddy farmers can receive farm inputs and materials like micronutrients, fertilisers and farm equipment on subsidy. However, this excludes a majority of farmers in Nagapattinam as 80% of paddy cultivation in the district is dependent on Cauvery water for irrigation due to the saline nature of groundwater resources.

The chances of farmers cultivating kuruvai this year are diminishing as the customary opening date of the Mettur dam on June 12 is overdue. “We are pinning our hopes on cultivating samba paddy if Cauvery water is released later. Hence, we request a special package for samba for those who miss out on kuruvai,” said SR Tamilselvan, a farmer representative.

According to the Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Department, kuruvai paddy has so far been cultivated in less than a thousand hectares in Thirumarugal block, where groundwater resources are fresher compared to the rest of the district. In the district, the seasonal paddy cultivation was taken up over about 26,500 hectares in 2023 when Cauvery water was released on June 12.

However, 12,500 hectares wilted away after the water dried up in the months that followed. Hence, farmers hesitate to take a chance this year amid the uncertainty. “Even though we request a special package for samba, everything depends on Cauvery water release.

Hence, the state government should also continue in its efforts to fetch water from Karnataka,” said S Ramadoss, a farmer representative and member of Tamil Nadu Kaviri Vivasaayigal Sangam. When contacted, an agriculture official told TNIE, “We have been receiving requests from farmers regarding the samba package. However, it is the government’s decision.”

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