Post rain, tapioca farmers in TN's Salem brace for a bumper harvest

The timely rain has not only salvaged the tapioca crop but also reinvigorated the farmers’ spirits, promising a bountiful harvest season.
Representative image of tapioca crop
Representative image of tapioca crop (File photo | Express)

SALEM: Tapioca farmers in Salem district are hoping for a bountiful harvest in June, despite the challenges posed by the intense summer heat.
With the district receiving much-needed rains over the last two weeks, farmers are looking forward to a successful season.

Over the last 20 days, Salem received an average rainfall of 79.86 millimetres. The timely rain has not only salvaged the tapioca crop but also reinvigorated the farmers’ spirits, promising a bountiful harvest season.
Tapioca, derived from the starchy root of the cassava plant, is a key crop in Salem and requires well-drained soil along with consistent rainfall or irrigation for optimal growth.

The plant propagated through stem cuttings, takes about 8-18 months to mature, depending on the variety and growing conditions. Once mature, the roots are harvested, peeled, and processed to extract the starch, which is used globally in various culinary applications including puddings, bubble tea, and as a thickening agent in recipes.

T Chinnaiyan, a tapioca farmer in Pethanaikampalayam, told TNIE “I was scared due to the scorching heat that persisted in Salem for the last three months. But now with the rainfall over the past 20 days, I can say with confidence that I will have a good and healthy crop.”

Chinnaiyan added, “The harvest will be at the end of June, and the increased groundwater level ensures that the crop will receive the necessary water to grow to its required height of 5 feet.”

He is optimistic about the financial returns from the harvest. “Last year, I received 12,000 rupees per ton of my crop, and I’m expecting more this year with the current market price at Rs 14,000,” he hoped.

M Kaliyaperumal, another farmer, shared similar sentiments with TNIE. “My investment on pesticides will yield significant profit. We were waiting for the Mettur dam to open, which usually happens around June 12, but because of the recent rains, we will be able to harvest even earlier.”

The State Horticulture Department also expressed optimism about the output, reporting an increase in tapioca cultivation area from 11,270.64 hectares last year to 12,853.2 ha this year. 

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