Hopes dashed?A farmer checking pepper spikes in his pepper plantation at Panamaram in Wayanad district.
Post-pollination rain has crucial role in fruiting of pepper spikes.
The continuing dry spell in the district after a good summer rain that lasted for the past many weeks have put the pepper and ginger farmers in distress.
According to the rainfall data available with the Regional Agriculture Research Station (RARS), Ambalavayal, under Kerala Agricultural University, the district received a rainfall of 378 mm from January 1 to May 18.
Though the pepper vines have started flowering in the summer showers, the dry spell for the past one week will adversely affect pepper production next year.
“The flowering season of pepper will usually start during the Thiruvathira Njattuvela period in June-July. But this year the pepper vines bloomed early thanks to the unprecedented summer rain,” P. Rajendran, Associate Director of Research, RARS, told The Hindu .
The post pollination shower had a crucial role in fruit setting on the pepper spikes, but the district hadn’t received any rain in the past one week, Dr. Rajendran said.
The early blooming would result in reduced flowering during the peak season of June-July. If the dry spell continued, a major part of the spikes would not fruit. As a result, the pepper production in the district might come down drastically the next year, he said.
Thousands of farmers in the district have started pepper cultivation under various pepper-farming rejuvenation projects of the Central and State governments.
The better price for pepper for the past three years too had fuelled this shift.
The retreat of summer showers has adversely affected the ginger farmers as well.
The dry spell would affect sprouting of the ginger rhizomes, the farmers in the district said.