Early release to increase acreage by 20 pc

Swamimalai Sundara Vimalnathan, secretary of Tamil Nadu Cauvery Farmers Protection Association, noted how kuruvai harvest often coincides with peak monsoon, which results in heavy damage to the paddy. The high moisture content puts farmers at the receiving end.
Early release to increase acreage by 20 pc
Farmers shifting mat nurseries for replanting in Thanjavur

TIRUCHY: The early release of water from Mettur Dam would help increase acreage of kuruvai cultivation by 20 per cent, said experts from the Cauvery Delta region, noting the case last year when releasing water on the customary date of June 12 helped farmers realise a bumper harvest.

Though officials have fixed a target of 3.38 lakh acres kuruvai this year, experts here are expecting it to touch at least 5 lakh acres due to the early release of water from Mettur which would help farmers take up cultivation process well ahead of time. They are expecting the Mettur water to reach the tail-end areas by June 10, ensuring adequate availability which in turn would help start the process early and thus increase the acreage.

Swamimalai Sundara Vimalnathan, secretary of Tamil Nadu Cauvery Farmers Protection Association, noted how kuruvai harvest often coincides with peak monsoon, which results in heavy damage to the paddy. The high moisture content puts farmers at the receiving end. “For the past 25 years, we have been insisting the government to open the Stanley reservoir in May when it has about 90 feet storage so that kuruvai cultivation would be completed by the time the North East monsoon sets in,” he said.

Data of Kuruvai target in various districts.
Data of Kuruvai target in various districts.

According to senior agriculture technocrat P Kalaivanan, farmers should undertake cultivation before June, which would help them harvest paddy in the first week of October. That way, they would be able to avoid monsoon damage. “The acreage will increase by at least 20 per cent if the farmers undertake cultivation early. The government should create awareness among the farmers,” Kalaivanan said.

Experts are also suggesting mat nursery making to ensure less damage to the plants, and mechanised transplant that would ensure uniform planting without any loss. “As mat nurseries are expensive compared to conventional method and need more area, it is advisable to adopt community nurseries where small segments of lands are collectively gathered to raise vast nurseries,” another expert V Palaniappan told DT Next.

He also suggested direct sowing which ensures economic usage of water and is cheaper. By the time the nursery is ready, the water would reach the fields and benefit cultivation, Palaniappan added.

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