Delay in the procurement of harvested paddy has put farmers in Kuttanad in distress.
Farmers of three paddy polders under the Kavalam Krishi Bhavan, where harvest was completed several days ago, said the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation (Supplyco) and rice mills were not ready to procure their produce. They said that despite the threat of rain, harvested paddy was being kept in polders itself.
Apart from Kavalam, farmers in Ramankary, Kainakary, Thalavady, Veeyapuram, Cheruthana, Pallipad, Haripad among other places in Kuttanad and Upper Kuttanad regions are facing procurement delays. On Monday, farmers staged an agitation in front of Thalavady Krishi Bhavan demanding speedy procurement of the harvested crop.
Farmers in the region alleged that mills were demanding more wastage citing high moisture content in the harvested paddy.
“Rice mills are trying to take advantage of the situation. They are demanding more wastage knowing farmers are desperate to sell produce due to rain threat among other factors. Some of the agents are demanding wastage up to 15 kg per quintal of paddy. The sad part is the officials concerned remain a mute spectator to all this,” said a paddy farmer from Kainakary.
Paddy farming has been undertaken in around 28,913.655 hectares in Alappuzha district in the ‘puncha’ crop season (first crop), a major portion of which is in Kuttanad. The Supplyco has so far procured 1.10 lakh tonne of paddy from around 24,000 hectares in Alappuzha in the ‘puncha’ season. Rest 5,000 hectares are expected to go under combine harvesters in the coming days.
Alini Antony, Principal Agricultural Officer, said that 5,200 tonnes of harvested paddy had been awaiting procurement. The procurement of the harvested paddy would be completed in a week.
Earlier this month, several farmers who cultivated paddy had suffered huge losses after summer rain destroyed harvest-ready crops in large tracts in different parts of the district. Besides, the rain-drenched several tonnes of harvested paddy stored in paddy polders for shifting to rice mills.
Meanwhile, the district administration has postponed the opening of the shutters of the Thanneermukkom bund due to a delay in the completion of harvest and procurement in Kuttanad. Earlier, authorities decided to open 31 of the 90 shutters of the bund on April 27. Officials said the shutters would now be opened in a phased manner from April 30.
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