A pall of gloom descended on the paddy bowl of Upper Kuttanad when the summer showers started accumulating in the harvest-ripe paddy fields.
Though summer showers have cooled the place, it has also started dampening the harvesting dream of a section of farmers.
Harvesting is over in almost 75 % of the paddy fields in Upper Kuttanad,sources said.
However, the harvesting is yet to be over in the sprawling fields of Kodankeri, Chathankary, Valanary, and Manakery that spreads across 750 acres.
A major portion of the fields have been water logged in the summer rains, making it difficult for the farmers to take the combine harvesters into the wet field.
In many places, the ripe paddy has fallen in the wind and rain, incurring heavy loss to the farmers, says Sam Eapen, District Panchayat member and the Upper Kuttanad Nel-Karshaka Samiti president. Mr Eapen told The Hindu that the paddy production in Upper Kuttanad too was considerably low this year.
The yield has been recorded at 15 to 17 quintals from an acre, this year against the previous year’s yield of 25 quintals from an acre, he said.
The government had fixed the handling charge for at Rs. 12 for 100 kg paddy a decade s ago which is grossly inadequate compared to the prevailing transportation expenses worth Rs. 150 to Rs. 170 for every 100 kg. Moreover, the combine harvester operators charge Rs. 1,650 to Rs. 1,750 an hour.
Mr. Eapen said the shooting fertilizer price and ever increasing labour cost and shortage of combine harvesters have made paddy cultivation a costly affair in Upepr Kuttanad, he said.
He said the farmers in Upper Kuttanad were not getting the financial assistance worth Rs. 4,500 for every hectare under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) for the past two years.