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Market gasping with heavy paddy arrivals

Several tractors carrying paddy bags were seen lined up on both sides of the road in front of the regulated market in Ammoor near Ranipet on Tuesday.

The main gate of the market was closed due to the piling up of bags in the open space inside the market, due to lack of storage space.

The Ammoor regulated market which normally handles about 3500 bags daily has been facing excessively heavy arrivals in the last four days owing to surplus paddy production in the Sholinghur, Arakkonam, Ponnai, Katpadi and Kaveripakkam areas of Vellore district as well as Tiruttani in the neighbouring Tiruvallur district.

About 15,000 paddy bags have piled up inside the market in the last one week. Owing to lack of storage space, the authorities of the regulated market have been closing the main gate for the last four days, forcing the tractors carrying the paddy bags to be parked on both sides of the road.


When asked about the problem, B. Kumaran, superintendent of the regulated market said that for the last one week, a board had been displayed outside the market, appealing to the farmers not to bring their produce till April 2 in view of the excessive stocks piling up inside the market.

C. Gopinathan, Secretary, Vellore District Market Committee said that the farmers were also being informed orally during the reading of the prices and disbursement of cash daily about the piling of the stocks and advised to bring stocks after April 2 when the situation would ease.

Besides lack of space, another problem was the difficulty in traders obtaining funds from banks to pay the farmers on account of the financial year end restrictions on outflow of funds. On Mondays and Fridays, the market could take an additional 50 bags, and the situation would return to normality within 10 days, he said.

Storage capacity

The Secretary said that while the regulated market in Ammoor has five sheds each of 500 metric tonnes (MT) capacity for storage, at any given time, only 350 MT could be stored in each shed in order to provide space for movement.

The government has issued an order even before the announcement of the Lok Sabha election schedule for the construction of four additional sheds in the Ammoor market, each of 500 MT capacity. Tenders would be floated for construction of the same after elections , he said.



Water scarcity affects paddy cultivation

When they set out to revitalise a fallow piece of land, hardly did they expect the problem of water scarcity to put a spanner in their works. A group of students, part of the National Service Scheme (NSS) unit at the Sree Chitra Thirunal College of Engineering, Pappanamcode, who have taken up cultivation in 30 cents of land near their college, are now facing a water crisis owing to a blocked canal, part of the Neyyar irrigation project.

The students started cultivation on a part of the Koliyakkode paddy fields, stretching to 7 hectares, last December. They took up the entire work of preparing the field, which has been lying uncultivated for the past two years, and sowing. But since February, they have been facing a severe shortage of water. They have been depending on a garbage-filled waterbody and wells in nearby houses for watering the crop. But now with water level in the wells reducing rapidly, the students are doubtful whether they can harvest the crop as expected in April.
Students of the NSS unit of Sree Chithra Thirunal Engineering College, Pappanamcode, watering the paddy fields which they cultivate.
They say that the main reason for the stoppage of paddy cultivation here was the clogging of the Neyyar irrigation project canal a few years ago with garbage. At present the water reaches only till Nemom and due to two major blocks at the Vellayani studio and the Vidhyadhiraja Homoeo College, the water does not reach till Pappanamcode.

In what is seen as an after effect of the clogging of the canal, as many as 11 ponds in the Nemom area have almost dried up in the past few years. Though an amount of Rs.14 lakh was allocated to clean up the clogged canal, the contractor who took up the work left it half way through. Re-tendering processes has also not happened.

The students fear that the continuing water scarcity will result in the entire paddy field going back to the fallow state, which might pave the way for real estate lobbies to fill it up.

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Over 3,100 hectares to come under summer paddy

The State agriculture department has proposed to cover over 3,100 hectares under summer paddy cultivation for achieving the food production target in the district.

The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) technique is being recommended for this cultivation, as it demands less water for irrigation. Against the usual 1,500 hectares, the department has planned to cover 3,100 hectares in all the blocks except Avudaiyarkovil and Manamelkudi.
An average yield of six tonnes per hectare expected during the current summer cultivation season.— File Photo: B. Velankanni Raj
The nursery is raised for 14 days and the popular variety is 'BPT 5204'.

“Farmers have a liking for the variety, though other varieties could also be cultivated under the system,” K.M.Shajahan, Joint Director of Agriculture, told The Hindu . The summer cultivation has various unique features, including raised bed nursery technique.

It can be raised as a second crop in Cauvery Mettur Project (CMP) areas and requires only two kg of seeds for one acre of crop. The mechanical transplanting ensures uniform spacing of nine inches – between rows and plants.



Paddy procurement centres at six places

Direct paddy procurement centres have been set up at six places in Srivaikuntam, Tiruchendur and Tuticorin taluks in the district.

Joint Director of Agriculture N.K. Dhakshinamoorthy said here on Monday that the centres had been opened at Srivaikuntam, Kurumbur, Nazareth, Vasavappapuram, Iruvappapuram and Kulayankarisal. The paddy procurement price had been fixed at Rs. 1,360 for one quintal of common variety and Rs. 1,415 for Grade –A variety.

Paddy harvesting was in progress at some places in the district. During ‘kar’ and ‘pisanam’ seasons last year, paddy was cultivated on 9, 863 hectares. Since the start of 2014, the crop had been raised on 1,781 hectares.

Paddy cultivation had been taken up under summer crop package as per a directive of Collector M. Ravikumar. Four blocks with potential were identified. Under the package, the government had set a target to cover 2,600 hectares at Srivaikuntam, Alwarthirunagari, Karungulam and some parts of Tuticorin. Owing to late planting in Tiruchendur, the harvest was expected by April. With just a month away, he said the officials were hopeful of achieving the target. He said 819 more hectares would be covered under this programme by the end of March.

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15,000 tonnes of paddy procured

The Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation has reached the halfway mark in paddy procurement in Erode district.

So far, 15,000 out of 30,000 tonnes anticipated have been procured through the 28 Direct Procurement Centres established throughout the district.

The rest of the procurement would be made by mid-March, said C. Muruganantham, Regional Manager of the corporation. The procurement process began last November.Last year, the procurement was nil despite the corporation opening a handful of district centres because of the drought conditions. With the water position in the Bhavani Sagar Dam comfortable, the Public Works Department was able to release water for paddy cultivation last August.The harvest was much higher — over 40,000 tonnes — during 2011-12.Farmers are given Rs. 14.15 a kg for Grade A varieties and Rs. 13.80 for common varieties. The corporation’s storage capacity is about 40,000 tonnes at its two godowns — 25,000 at Perundurai, and 15,000 at Sivagiri.This year, the entire paddy crop procured in the district had moisture content within the permitted upper limit of 16 per cent. This year, the supply of 30 winnowing machines made the task of cleaning the paddy before procurement easier, said Mr. Muruganantham, adding that the sunny weather condition in the harvest period has helped farmers to keep the moisture content within the specified limit.



Officials pitch in with spray to save standing paddy crop

The Agriculture Department and Krishi Vigyan Kendra of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (KVK-TNAU) have stepped in to help farmers, who were struggling to save standing paddy crop by buying water.

After ‘The Hindu’ reported the plight of the farmers fighting hard to save the crop at the terminal stage in Erumaipatti, Naranamangalam and Mudhunal in Ramanathapuram block, officials of the department and the KVK have come to the rescue of the farmers.

Farmers in these areas had managed to bring up the crop for the first 60 days, using water from nearby waterbodies, but found it difficult after the water level in the irrigation tanks went low. While a section of them hired diesel engines for Rs.200 an hour to pump water, others left the crop to wither away.
Keeping hopes alive:A farmer spraying Pink Pigmented Facultative Methylotroph (PPFM) on the crop at Mudhunal in Ramanathapuram on Friday.— Photo: L. BALACHANDAR
As the tanks went dry and the crop, cultivated on about 100 acres in Erumaipatti and Naranamangalam areas and about 70 acres in Mudhunal were at the terminal stage, the farmers became desperate and hired water tankers paying Rs.1,200 for 6,000 litres of water.

Reacting to the report, R. Ramasamy Pandian, Assistant Director of the Agriculture Department (Ramanathapuram block), visited the areas and coordinated with the KVK to spray Pink Pigmented Facultative Methylotroph (PPFM) bacteria to mitigate drought and save the crop.

The KVK sprayed the PPFM on about 15 acres at Erumaipatti and Naranamangalam and about 10 acres in Mudhunal, free of cost, demonstrating the efficacy of the spray to mitigate drought even as the farmers substituted it with life-saving irrigation, R. Durai Singh, Programme Coordinator, KVK-TNAU, said here on Friday. The farmers were encouraged to spray the PPFM, by spending about Rs.200 an acre, he said.

As the farmers could not judiciously use the water from tankers, the KVK helped them with mini mobile sprinklers. By letting out the water from the tankers, the farmers could irrigate only about 20 cents in an acre, but by using the mobile sprinklers they could use one tanker of water for the entire one-acre area, Mr.Durai Singh told ‘The Hindu.’

R. Balasundaramurthy, a progressive farmer in Mudhunal, said farmers who had cultivated paddy crop on about 70 acres in the area could save it only on 10 acres.

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“Paddy crop on over 19,700 acres withering”

With the closure of all the 17 irrigation channels in Cumbum Valley, paddy crop on 14,707 acres in the valley and 5,000 acres irrigated by Thanthai Periyar Channel has started withering.

“Farmers harvested 10.14 tonnes per hectare, the highest in the State, during the last season. But, we may harvest only half the quantity now. The production loss is estimated at 80,000 tonnes,” say members of Cumbum Farmers Association.
YEARNING For water:A paddy field in Cumbum Valley in Theni district.— PHOTO: G. KARTHIKEYAN
The worst-affected are farmers in Gudalur and Cumbum blocks, where the crop is 80 days old. One wetting with the release of 25 cusecs of water for five days will suffice to protect the crop on 2,000 acres, they say.


In other areas, the crop is 35 to 60 days old. It requires water for 45 to 60 days. The farmers will lose Rs.25,000 to Rs.35,000 per acre, they add.

They say PWD officials refuse to release Periyar dam water for irrigation.

The level in the dam stood at 111 feet, and water can be released till it reaches 104 feet.

The officials want water to meet the drinking water needs of 65 lakh people living in Madurai, seven municipalities, 736 town panchayats and over 2,000 panchayats in five southern districts till June.

Poor planning, lethargic attitude of the government, violation of government orders, excessive political intervention in releasing water and illegal tapping in the Periyar river are the reasons for the present situation, the valley farmers say.

The PWD had drawn water from Periyar dam to improve Vaigai dam storage level, expecting rain in October and November, but there was no rain.

They released water from Vaigai to irrigate the first crop in Madurai district in June, instead of September as done normally, says progressive farmer A. Abbas.

Illegal tapping is also rampant in Periyar river. Kerala is drawing a lot of water from leading supply channel of Periyar river. But Tamil Nadu did not prevent it. Over 25,000 oil pumps are used to draw water illegally from the Periyar river between Gudalur and PC Patti to save perennial and cash crops, allege farmers.

“We are tired of staging protests demanding water, as the government has failed to understand the situation,” says H. Sowber Ai, secretary, Periyar Irrigation Farmers Association, Uthamapalayam.

“Now the paddy crop is at milking stage in Uthamapalayam,” he noted.



Farmers badly in need of water to save crop

Farmers are desperately in need of the Tamirabharani water to save standing paddy crop.

To safeguard the livelihoods of paddy farmers, water is required to irrigate paddy fields, according to K.P. Perumal, district secretary, Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam.

At this critical stage, the farmers were looking forward to get water for irrigation at least in two spells. The standing paddy crop had attained ear head emergence and milky stage and hence water is the need of the hour. The northeast monsoon failure had already dashed the hopes of farmers this year also, who were now largely dependent on irrigated farming.
Question of Survival:A view of the paddy field at Korampallam in Tuticorin on Tuesday.— Photo: N. Rajesh
On the wetland ayacut, paddy cultivation was normally taken up on 18,000 to 20,000 acres. “The entire district has 46, 000 acres of ayacut covered under irrigation system. Apart from paddy, the farmers are also pinning their hopes on banana cultivation,” he said here on Tuesday. Fifteen to thirty quintals of paddy yield could be got if sufficient water was released to irrigate the paddy fields, he added.

Farmers in the tail-end regions in Korampallam were bearing the brunt of inaccessibility to water.

N.K. Dhakshinamoorthy, Joint Director of Agriculture, Tuticorin, told ‘The Hindu’ that to avoid moisture stress and ensure better yield of paddy, water resources were essentially required especially at the tail-end regions at this stage. About 1, 500 acres to 1, 800 acres of paddy crop were in flowering and milky stages in the tail-end regions in Korampallam, Mr. Dhakshinamoorthy said.

Four blocks including Alwarthirunagari, Karungulam, Tiruchendur, Srivaikuntam and some parts of Pudukottai had been identified as potential irrigation pockets in the district.

Cultivation of paddy, millets and rice fallow pulses would be taken up under State-sponsored summer programme after ‘pisanam’ season. Under the summer package of food grain mission, paddy cultivation is expected to cover 2, 500 ha, millets on 4, 500 ha and rice fallow pulses on 12, 500 ha. Soil with residual moisture would be conducive to raise these crops.

The officials from Department of Agriculture had been streamlining activities to achieve the objective of good yield of produce, hopefully. The farmers in these identified blocks would be trained on suitable methods of cultivation and better management practices to achieve the desired results, the Joint Director said.

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Paddy farmers seek turn system

Farmers in tail-end areas of Kanyakumari district are concerned over the depletion of storage in all dams — Pechipparai, Perunchani, Chittar-I, Chittar-II and Poigai. They have demanded immediate implementation of the turn system as it will be difficult to save the standing paddy crop in the prevailing water scenario.

Farmers in east Kanyakumari, which includes Thovalai, Chenbakaramanputhur, a portion of Anjugramam, Azagappapuram Kottaram, Myladi, Tamaraikulam, Asaripallam, Rajakkamangalam and Muttom, cultivate paddy in over 19,000 acres. As the crop in tail-end areas, which has attained the ‘milky stage,’ needs more water, farmers have urged the district administration to introduce the ‘turn system’ at the earliest.
A view of Pechchiparai dam in Kanyakumari district. File Photo
Speaking to The Hindu on Wednesday, the chairman of Kodayar Irrigation Project (Water Resource Organisation), A. Vinsanto, pointed out that the government used to issue a special order every year on March 1 for water release in Padmanabhapuram-Puthanar channel up to March 15 for devotees to take holy dip during Mondaicadu Bhagavathy Amman Masi Kodai Viza. Water also would be released in Thovalai and Ananthanar channels during the Mondaicadu festival.

This step will benefit farmers in tail-end areas.

While paddy raised around the dam head needs water for only 15 days more, in the tail-end areas, it requires a month’s more of water.

Thus, farmers in Kottaram and surrounding areas have appealed to the PWD officials to implement turn system immediately, before the special GO is issued.

Over the years, cultivable area in the district has shrunk from 35,000 hectares to 25,000 hectares owing to conversion of land into sites for houses. In the absence of remunerative price for paddy, farmers have also switched to cash crops like banana and rubber.

Though the district administration has taken steps to create awareness of the need to protect waterbodies under the ‘Nanneer Kumari’ initiative, it is yet to take off due to poor cooperation from farmers, according to officials in the Department of Agriculture.

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Water shortage: paddy on many acres face bleak prospects

Standing paddy crop on 1.50 lakh acres in the tail-end delta region is craving for adequate water, as the present supply falls short of the requirements, said V. Kannan, vice-president of the Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Welfare Association.

Mr. Kannan told The Hindu that the tail end delta region was not getting its due share of water from the Lower Anicut. It was customary that 10 per cent of the total quantum of Cauvery water (released from the Mettur Dam) realised at the Grand Anicut ought to be let into to the Lower Anicut.

From the Lower Anicut water would flow to irrigate the ayacut areas under the South Rajan and North Rajan canlas, the Vadavar and the Veeranam tank.

Of the 9,400 cusecs of water being discharged from the Stanley reservoir the realisation at the Grand Anicut as on Sunday was in the region of 6,300 cusecs.

According to the established practice the Lower Anicut could have received 630 cuseces of water on a daily basis, as its judicious share, but the present realisation was ranging between 200 cusecs and 400 cusecs.

Mr. Kannan pointed out that owing to the belated water release the transplantation of paddy crop was extended beyond the scheduled period. As of now the crop was at pre-flowering and at flowering stage.

This was the right time the crop required proper wetting and if starved of water at this stage the crops would wither away. Therefore, the farmers in the places such as Killai, Parangipettai and the ayacutdars of the Sethiathope Anicut system and the South Rajan canal were keeping their fingers crossed as they were unsure about the prospects of the crop yield.

Mr. Kannan said, “If adequate water is supplied the paddy crop would be ready for harvest in the first week of February. If not, the farmers in the tail-end delta region are in for trouble,” he added.

Therefore, he appealed to the Public Works Department officials at Thanjavur to suitably increase the quantum of release from the Mettur Dam to fulfil the requirements of the farmers in this region.

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Protect crops from disease, officials advise farmers

A total of 1.28 lakh hectares of land have been covered under samba cultivation during the current season in the district.

Direct sowing was done on 70,264 hectares of land. Of the 58,148 hectares covered under transplantation method, 23,842 hectares were covered under conventional method and SRI method of cultivation was adopted on 34,306 hectares, District Collector S. Natarajan said while addressing the farmers grievances day meeting here on Thursday.

A total of 18,394 hectares of land had been brought under Kuruvai cultivation in the district during the current season — SRI method 12,176 hectares, direct sowing 274 hectares, and transplantation method 5,944 hectares.

Thaladi transplantation has been completed on 18,358 hectares of land, — 8,693 hectares under conventional method and 9,665 hectares under SRI.

The samba and thaladi crops are in an advanced matured stage. They are prone to some kind of disease. The Collector advised farmers to take up crop protection strategy by applying pesticides.

The Collector said the district experienced a rainfall of 150.74 mm. so far in December, against a normal rainfall of 175.28 mm.

Referring to the extension of financial assistance to farmers, Mr. Natarajan said the nationalised banks had targeted to extend crop loans to the tune of Rs. 1,81,138 lakh. Thanjavur District Central Cooperative Bank targeted to provide Rs. 6,500 lakhs worth crop loans, of which 5,062.10 lakh had been distributed to 17,755 farmers, Rs. 2,341 lakh as jewellery loans to 6,772 farmers.

The Kumbakonam District Central Cooperative Bank targeted to extend Rs. 7,500 lakh as crop loan and had so far sanctioned Rs. 6,846.89 lakh to 20,762 farmers as crop loans, and Rs. 2,497.17 lakh as jewellery loan to 4,803 farmers.

The government recently opened 62 direct procurement centres in the district in addition to 16 centres existing. During the kharif season, 2013-14, 16,928 tonnes of paddy had been procured by these centres.

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TN farmers asked monitor paddy crop for diseases

Coimbatore, Nov. 27:  Rice farmers in Tamil Nadu have been advised to monitor the crop for rice blast and false smut diseases in paddy.

University experts foresee an outbreak of such diseases in paddy because of the abnormal weather prevailing in the rice growing areas of Tamil Nadu.

Urging farmers to monitor the crop more closely, the Director for Plant Protection Studies at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University here said the blast symptoms appear as spindle-shaped lesions with white to grey-green darker borders. “Rice grains are replaced by a mass of velvety spores due to the false smut infection, which burst open between the glumes. To control this disease, spray Propiconazole or Copper hydroxide at boot leaf and at flowering stage,” the director said in a release.

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Integrating poultry, fish and rice to triple income

 Instead of growing only a single crop, farmers can try and diversify agricultural activities like dairy, bio-gas, mushroom, fish, poultry, silkworm rearing, or apiary along with crops to get a higher income. This also helps in effective recycling of waste products from the animals and birds as manure for crops and cuts down input cost to a major extent.


The feasibility of such a model integrating rice/fish and poultry was taken up by Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu, and its impact on the farmers’ lifestyle is being studied for the last 15 years. It was found that the model, apart from being helpful in generating some revenue, also helps in weed control by 40 per cent, and pest incidence by 30 per cent in paddy crops.

“The model was field tested in different villages during 2004-07. At present it is being implemented in Cuddalore, Villupuram and Nagapattinam districts. Nearly 600 farmers have adopted this model in the last five years, and the annual income of these small cultivators has gone up from Rs. 30,000 (only crop cultivation in 1-2 acres) to Rs. 60,000,” says Dr. R.M. Kathiresan, Professor and Head, Dept of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture, Annamalai University.

Resource-poor farmers adopting low input agriculture are the main beneficiaries of this system. The simple reason is that it offers multiple benefits like bio-control of pests, infestations, weeds, and better crop growth because the fish feed on the pests and insects attacking the rice plant and poultry droppings are constantly washed into the field making it more fertile and conducive for healthy crop growth.

Why this study?

But why did the University take up fish and poultry with paddy cultivation?

“There is plenty of data available on rice/ fish/poultry integrated model in several Universities across the country. But if you study closely, you will find that in an acre, a pond would have been dug and a poultry cage erected over it. The paddy crop will be grown in a plot adjacent to this.

“There will be no connection to all the three activities. But in our model we have carefully planned to avoid such a gap and implemented it in such a way that all three are connected to each other,” says Dr. Kathiresan. He went on to explain how it is different from other models.

Easy replication

Replicating this model is quite easy, according to him. For example in an acre (100 cents) beneficiary farmers are growing paddy in 90 cents. In five cents they grow fishes like grass carp, common carp, roghu, cutla in a trench (one feet depth and width) on one side of the field.

In the remaining five cents poultry cages propped up on concrete poles are erected fitted with wire meshes. The cage is erected in such a way that a part of the cage is above the water-filled trench and the remaining part over the paddy crop.

A part of the bird droppings falls directly into the water as feed for fishes and the remaining on the fields as manure for the crop.

During single rice cropping season (about 5-6 months) poultry can be reared three times. Common NPK fertilizer schedule for rice is being followed as basal input, but farmers are cautioned not to practice split application of the chemical fertilizers as it may affect good fish growth. Also as plant protection measures, neem kernel extract is used instead of spraying chemical insecticides.


Regarding the marketing of fish and birds Dr. Kathiresan says, “We encouraged the farmers to form groups and open a marketing outlet and bank account. The income from the sale of fish and poultry is deposited in the account and later shared.

“The University supplied the first batch of chicken and fishes to the farmers and after the first harvest farmers themselves started purchasing them. We have received sanctions to start more such models in the region after receiving a good response from both the farmers and the Government.”

For more information farmers can contact Dr. R.M.. Kathiresan, Professor and Head, Dept of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture, Annamalai University: 608002, email, mobile:9655188233.

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Now, paddy to come under drip irrigation

Coimbatore, Oct. 20: 

After providing the drip irrigation technology for cash crops, Netafim Irrigation India Pvt Ltd is now driving adoption of the technology in rice.

Randhir Chauhan, Managing Director, Netafim India, told Business Line that the company decided to experiment the drip fertigation system in rice, oil seeds and pulses as the use of drip irrigation system was largely confined to cash crops such as sugarcane, banana and vegetable crops at present.

“We have been conducting field trials here in rice on a pilot basis, and the initial response has been positive,” Chauhan said, adding that the company was poised to rope in more acreage under drip fertigation in the years to come. Farm Varsity experts estimate the area under rice in India at 42 million hectares.

“Rice is a water-intensive crop. It occupies just about 30 per cent of the cultivable area but consumes nearly 70 per cent of available water. In a bid to reorient the cultivation practice from the present system of inundation to water sustainability, we at Netafim along with experts from the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University have been doing some research trials in fields,” Chauhan said.

He further said that around 25-35 acres have been covered in the pilot phase of the project. “ Our observations revealed that the water utilisation under drip irrigation was just 32 per cent compared to flood irrigation and the farmers could get 20 per cent more yield,” he added.

Meanwhile, Parthasarathy, a farmer at Govindapuram (Amaravathy Sub-basin) in Erode District, told this correspondent that he was among the 10-15 farmers, who cultivated rice using drip irrigation technologyHe said, “We have been raising crops such as onion and citrus since the 80s. Erratic rains and depleting water resources have compelled us to adopt drip irrigation technology. The yields have been good. We need a cold-storage facility to hold our stocks,” he added.

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India State Announces $10 Per Ton Bonus Over 2013-14 Paddy Minimum Support Price

India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu has announced a bonus of around Rs. 50 – 70 per quintal (about $10 per ton) of paddy, over the minimum support prices announced by the central government for 2013-14. In Tamil Nadu, farmers can now sell their common paddy rice variety to the government at Rs. 1,360 per quintal (about $216 per ton) and grade A paddy rice variety at Rs. 1,415 per quintal (about $224 per ton) from October 1, 2013.

The central government had increased the minimum support price of paddy rice by around 16% from the previous year in 2012-13. In comparison the y/y increase in MSP was about 5% in 2013-14. The Chhattisgarh state had announced a bonus of about $50 per ton over the central government support prices last year. A similar thing may happen in several states in India in the coming months to please voters ahead of general elections in 2014, say local sources.

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TN farmers to get Rs 50-70 more per quintal for paddy

 Chennai, Sept 26: 

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, J. Jayalalithaa, today said farmers in the state would get an additional Rs 50 and Rs 70 per quintal over the minimum support price of Rs 1,310 (ordinary) and Rs 1,345 (high quality) respectively as announced by the Centre for kharif crops for this season.

With this, farmers would get Rs 1,360 per quintal for ordinary paddy and Rs 1,415 per quintal for high quality paddy from October 1, Jayalalithaa said in a statement.

The decision was arrived at a meeting chaired by the Chief Minister with other ministers and senior officials.

The Centre announced a hike in the support price of paddy by Rs 60 to Rs 1,310 and by Rs 65 to Rs 1345 for high quality paddy per quintal for the 2013—14 crop year.

The Chief Minister has also directed respective District Collectors in the Cauvery delta region to permit Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation to open procuring centres in their districts when required.

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వరికి మద్దతు ధర పెంపు: ఆదేశాలిచ్చిన జయలలిత

 చెన్నై, సాక్షి ప్రతినిధి: అన్నదాతకు తీపికబురు. వరికి మద్దతు ధర పెంచుతూ ముఖ్యమంత్రి జయలలిత నిర్ణయం తీసుకున్నారు. కేంద్రం ధరకు అదనంగా సొమ్ము చెల్లించనున్నారు. రాజకీయాల్లో అన్నాడీఎంకే అధినేత్రి జయలలిత శైలే వేరు. ఆమె నేతృత్వంలోని అన్నాడీఎంకే ప్రభుత్వం సంక్షేమ పథకాలతో దూసుకెళుతోంది. ముఖ్యంగా ప్రజాకర్షక పథకాలతో జయలలిత నిత్యం వార్తల్లో ఉంటున్నారు. ఈ కోవకే చెందుతాయి. అమ్మ క్యాంటీన్లు, అమ్మ మినరల్ వాటర్, చౌక దుకాణాలు. ఇలా అన్ని వర్గాల ప్రజలను ఆకర్షించే విధంగా జయలలిత పాలన సాగిస్తున్నారు.
తాజాగా ఆమె అన్నదాతకు తీపి కబురు పంపారు. వరిధాన్యం సేకరణలో క్వింటాలుపై కేంద్రం రూ.1310, సన్నరకంపై రూ.1345 చెల్లిస్తోంది. ఈ ధర తమకు ఏ మాత్రమూ సరిపోదని రైతులు అసంతృప్తి వ్యక్తం చేస్తున్నారు. ఈ నేపథ్యంలో ముఖ్యమంత్రి జయలలిత సచివాలయంలో అధికారులతో గురువారం సమావేశమయ్యారు. వరి మద్దతు ధర అంశానికి సంబంధించి చర్చించారు. సాధారణ రకంపై అదనంగా రూ.50, సన్నరకంపై రూ.70 చెల్లించాలని ఆమె నిర్ణయించారు. ఈ లెక్కన సాధారణ రకానికి రూ.1360, సన్నరకానికి రూ.1415 చెల్లించాలని అధికారులను ఆదేశించారు.

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Farmers harvest success from system that needs less water

 In a region that has been famous for generous use of the Cauvery water [whenever available], farmers are increasingly adopting a cultivation method that requires less water.

A large number of farmers in the Tiruchi district who went in for ‘kuruvai’ paddy crop in the filter point areas in June amidst concerns over the dwindling water table had successfully adopted the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) to reduce water consumption substantially.

The method, which helps reduce water consumption by 25-50 per cent and promises better yield, has been adopted in over 60 per cent of the area covered under ‘kuruvai’ paddy in the district this year. The coverage of kuruvai had come down to 8,577 acres in the district against the normal area of 16,000 acres given the prolonged dry spell.

The State government had to implement a special package to help farmers in the filter point areas in the delta to take up the cultivation.

The package included three phase power supply for 12 hours a day, supply of bio-fertilizers, micro nutrients and pesticides free of cost. Besides, HDPE pipes were given to farmers free to help them pump water from borewells.

Farmers say that the measures, coupled with the adoption of the SRI, had helped them raise the crop successfully.

“The water table in our village had gone down by 10 to 15 feet. Thankfully, we were able to pump water from our borewells as power was available. The pipes given by the government also helped in preventing wastage of water,” said C. Rajeshkhanna, a farmer of Manakkal near Lalgudi.

Lalgudi block, one of the fertile belts in the district, accounts for a major portion of the crop with nearly 7928 acres. Of this, SRI had been adopted in 5,290 acres thanks to the efforts of the officials of the Agriculture Department. The water consumption had gone down by more than 30 per cent, say farmers of the village.

The efficacy of the cultivation method had already been demonstrated in the village. A father-son duo, Mohammed Haneefa and Abdul Rahman, had bagged prizes for recording the highest yield by adopting SRI in the district over the past two years by recording a yield of 5.5 to 6 tonnes an acre. .

“We are able to harvest at least 60 bags (of 60 kg each) an acre using SRI against the normal of 40-45 bags under traditional method,” said Mr.Rajesh Khanna, who has been adopting the method for the past three years.

SRI is also better suited for farm mechanization and this is a big plus given the shortage of labourers and rising wages, the farmers say.

In fact, the entire ‘kuruvai’ paddy crop in Manakkal village, accounting for about 260 acres, has been raised under SRI this year. “This is one of the six villages where we implemented the ‘whole village concept’ to promote the SRI,” said Gururaj Singh, Joint Director of Agriculture.

The Department plans to adopt the ‘whole village concept’ to promote SRI in as many as 84 villages across the district for ‘kuruvai’, ‘thaladi’ and ‘samba’ crops, according to R. Chandrasekaran, Deputy Director (Central schemes), Agriculture.

With ‘samba’ coverage expected to touch 1.50 lakh acres (making up for the ‘kuruvai’ shortfall) in the district this year in the wake of release of water for irrigation and good storage of the Mettur reservoir, the department is gearing up to promote SRI in 90,000 acres.

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Karaikal aims to raise paddy in 1,250 more ha

The Department of Agriculture has set a target to raise paddy crop in 6,000 hectare in Karaikal this season, 1,250 hectares more than last year’s cultivated area. The steady release of Cauvery water to Karaikal region is the main reason for the officials to increase the cultivable area.

A. Ramamurthy, Director, Department of Agriculture, told The Hindu that though the cultivable area of paddy had reduced in Karaikal for various reasons in the recent past, it was decided to bring at least 6,000 hectares under cultivation this year as prevailing conditions were conducive.

Officials have been instructed to surpass the target, and explore the potential to expand, he said.

Puducherry is supposed to get 6.34 tmcft from the Cauvery basin as per the tribunal order.

It has hardly received its share in the recent past.

However, he hoped that it would get its share of water this year primarily due to an active monsoon. According to information reaching him, Mr. Ramamurthy said water had been released into Noolaru, Nedunkadu, Pandaravaikal, Arasalaru and others from the upper channels of the Cauvery in Tamil Nadu.

Senior officials of Public Works Department of Puducherry and Tamil Nadu had met recently to coordinate the sharing of water.

He said 40 tonnes of certified seed has had been kept in different societies and agricultural centres in Karaikal for sale.

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Farmers can avail crop insurance by paying premium now

Under the Modified National Agriculture Insurance Scheme, compensation would be given for crop losses at the village level, instead of the usual block or firka level, according to R. Kirlosh Kumar, District Collector. The Collector further stated insurance cover would be available for kuruvai and samba paddy, pearl millets and groundnut for the 2013 kharif season.

For kuruvai or sornawari, paddy crop insurance cover would be Rs. 15,950 per acre for which the farmers would have to pay a premium of Rs. 335, excluding the grant component.

For availing of the benefit, the farmers would have to send in their applications on or before July 31, 2013.

For the samba paddy crop an insurance cover Rs. 10,100 per acre would be made available and for which the premium has been fixed at Rs. 606, excluding the grant component.

The last date for receiving applications is December 31.

The insurance cover could be obtained either through the Primary Agricultural Cooperative Credit Societies (PACCSs) or the commercial banks. Further details could be obtained from the respective PACCS or bank branches or from the agricultural officers.

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