Motta rice losing ground in Delta dists
TIRUCHY: The cultivation of once popular drought resistant motta variety rice is gradually being dropped in the Cauvery Delta region owing to low demand.
Farmers demand the government to develop a fine variety drought resistant paddy so that the cultivation cost would be less and no loss.
For the past several years, the Delta region used to witness flood as well as drought and farmers were advised to cultivate flood and drought resistant motta varieties of paddy like TKM 9 and ASD 16 motta during kuruvai and thalady seasons, while CR 1009 motta variety was cultivated widely during the samba season.
Among the varieties, TKM 9 is a red rice variety for which there was a high demand in Kerala. As a result, farmers from Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur and Mayiladuthurai cultivated this variety largely.
However, in recent days, the cultivation area of red rice has increased in Kerala and the demand for this variety from Tamil Nadu has almost dropped. Therefore, the traders show less interest in procuring the rice and transporting it to Kerala.
At the same time, the DPCs in Tamil Nadu too had failed to procure this variety, as people here were not interested in buying red rice even through the PDS outlets.
This resulted in a shrinking of acreage in cultivation of this variety of rice in the Delta.
“There was a vast acreage of cultivation for these motta varieties 10 years back, but presently the motta varieties are raised in less than 5 per cent acreage,” said Kakkarai R Sukumaran, vice president, Federation of Farmers Associations.
He said, due to less patronage for motta rice, agriculture officials advised farmers to stop cultivating them.
“But these varieties can withstand floods as well as drought and the yield will also be good. We will get at least 60 bags per acre and there is less risk. So, the government should develop fine varieties of paddy that can withstand flood and drought on par with motta varieties,” Sukumaran said.