Kerala paddy production drops due to extreme heat

| Updated: 21 May, 2024 12:16 pm IST

Alappuzha – Raising concerns over the agrarian economy of the state, the paddy production as well as the number of paddy farmers have dropped significantly in numbers as compared to the previous years. The data has been furnished by the Supplyco, a government organization that procures grains from the farmers directly in the state.

The data comes when 95 percent of the paddy procurement is over in the state ahead of the arrival of the southwest monsoon.

Issues such as hardships faced by farmers, recurring financial losses, delayed payment by the credit agencies, rising prices of pesticides, lack of basic infrastructure, rising labor costs and the unprecedented climatic conditions have been cited as the primary reasons for the dip in production.

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From nearly 7, 31,182 metric tonnes (MT) in the 2022-23 season, output fell to 4, 99,768 MT in 2023-24. The paddy sector suffered an Rs 550-crore decline in revenue in the latest season.

With the harvest season in the state winding to a close, less than 2,000 hectares of the paddy crop in Kuttanad and Upper Kuttanad regions remain to be reaped.

Farmers, especially in the Kuttanad region have suffered losses due to the low production. A yield of at least 19 quintals per acre will allow a farmer to recoup at least production costs. Anything below this results in a loss. For many farmers in Kuttanad, production has been below 19 quintals.

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“I carried out farming in the Meenappaly and Kumarankary areas in three acres of land for the past two years. This time the total production was 15 quintal per acre where in the previous seasons it was 24 to 25 quintal per acre”, said Hari Kumar, a 47-year-old techie turned farmer.

The story of a majority of the paddy farmers is more or less the same. With IMD predicting a very high rainfall, many small-scale farmers are deeply concerned of the storage facilities available and whether the heavy downpour could destroy their crops as it happened during the 2018 deluge.

A majority of the farmers in the Kuttanad region carry out farming in leased land. The lease amount for an acre of paddy land is Rs 25,000 which further add to their costs.

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