Improved storage last year helped farmers reap bumper crop
Paddy grown in four lakh acres of landThe crop is banned during summerAyacutdars have opted for fine variety of paddy Crop condition good but shortage of water has affected yieldPrice for the produce yet to pick up in the markets
Raichur: After three seasons, ayacutdars in the Tungabhadra Left Bank Canal (TLBC) command area have grown paddy during this summer. They are now busy in harvesting the crop. But they seem to be unhappy with the yield and the prevailing prices in the market.
The lack of storage at the reservoir in the past three years had hampered sowing in the command areas during summer. In these years, farmers had to be satisfied with the one crop during kharif.
The Left Bank Canal serves areas covering Gangavathi taluk in Koppal distirct and Sindhanur, Manvi and Raichur taluks in Raichur district. The improved storage in the reservoir last year helped ayacutdars to see off the kharif season with bumper crop and take up summer sowing also. During the two seasons, paddy was grown on a large scale.
Paddy was grown in an area of four lakh acres during kharif. The yield was an average 30 quintals an acre of land. The ayacutdars even got a good support price for their produce. This season an equal area has been covered by paddy, though growing paddy during summer is banned. In fact, the ayacutdars have taken up sowing of fine variety paddy such as Sona Masuri, JJL and Warangal. This is despite the department concerned announcing that the canal would be closed by the end of March.
Though the condition of the crop is good, the shortage of water especially in March has affected the expected crop yield. In addition to excess usage of fertilizer, pests have attacked the crop. These factors have reduced the crop yield by 25 per cent. Even the quality of the crop has been affected. Now ayacutdars in the upper command areas of Gangavathi and Sindhanur taluks, are harvesting the crop, while those in the lower command areas in Sindhanur, Manvi and parts of Raichur taluks are waiting for the standing crop to reach the dry stage. But there is a fear that untimely rain may damage the crop.
Those harvesting are in distress as price for the produce is yet to pick up. Their hopes have been dashed as traders, including rice mill owners, are not ready to buy even at the support price announced by the Union Government.
According to reports, the price of fine variety paddy is in the range of Rs. 400 to Rs. 450 per bag of 75 kg each. The reserved price is over Rs. 500 per bag of 75 kg each. The lack of demand for paddy is acting as a disadvantage for the farmers.
According to the farmers, the average loss is about Rs. 2,500 per acre of land. Apart from heavy investment on fertilizers and pesticides, they have paid additional charges for mechanical harvesting owing to shortage of labourers. They have urged the Government to announce a support price for the fine variety of paddy.