Less rain: Thoothukudi farmers fear crop loss

According to M Velraj, a farmer from Puthiamputhur, Ottapidaram block, pulses and millets are principal rain-fed subsistence crops in around 3,000 acres on black cotton soil
A dry patch of soil in Thoothukudi district
A dry patch of soil in Thoothukudi district

MADURAI: Several farmers, who largely rely on cultivating rain-fed crops in parts of Thoothukudi district, feared crop failure due to insufficient rains this monsoon season. For these farmers, the northeast monsoon rains are crucial to water and grow crops in blocks of Ottapidaram, Kovilpatti, Kayathar, Vilathikulam and partially in Thoothukudi and Karungulam blocks, sources said.

According to M Velraj, a farmer from Puthiamputhur, Ottapidaram block, pulses and millets are principal rain-fed subsistence crops in around 3,000 acres on black cotton soil. But, with no rain in sight over the last 18 days, crops did not prosper. Mostly, crops including black gram, green gram, pearl millet, maize and sorghum were already under cultivation and cotton intercrop was done. As for cotton, it’s a drought tolerant one and could be managed. This is the right time to receive rainfall to benefit standing crops. Normally during these days, it rains much to the delight of farmers, he told DT Next.

If the dry spell extended longer than expected, the situation would lead crops to wither and die, affecting the fortunes of farmers. Depressed by the truant monsoon, he blamed the weather saying that if there’s no rain in the next five days, crops would eventually wither. Despite higher expenses and labour cost, farmers were facing a risk of losing their livelihoods. Adding to woes, he said urea and DAP fertilizer were not available in cooperative societies and farmers had no alternative to buy it from private dealers at higher cost.

As for AVaradharajan, a farmer from Ayan Vadamalapuram in Pudur, most of the rain-fed crops have attained flowering stage to start germinating, which depends critically on the amount and timing of rain. It rained considerably during the summer, but after the initial spell of rain during this NE monsoon, there has been a dry spell over the last 23 days. As of now, standing crops could withstand dry weather for a week and not beyond.

P Murugesan, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, state executive member, who’s a farmer from Pudur, said, “The NE monsoon accounts for two-thirds of the district’s average annual rainfall of 661.2 mm, but it’s unusual this year resulting in deficit rainfall,” he added.

Visit news.dtnext.in to explore our interactive epaper!

Download the DT Next app for more exciting features!

Click here for iOS

Click here for Android

Related Stories

No stories found.
DT next
www.dtnext.in