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Good Rains Raise Hopes of Bumper Rabi Crop for Nellore District Farmers

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Paddy farmers of the district who failed to get expected yield during kharif season due to poor rainfall coupled with non-supply of water, are now pinning their hopes on rabi crop as the district recorded good amount of rain. However, the acreage of paddy cultivation has come down in rabi season  as the farmers in upland areas were not sure of water to the fields.

Paddy was cultivated in just 32,241 hectares in kharif as against 62,001 hectares normal cultivation area. Nearly  1.88 lakh metric tonnes of paddy was yielded from kharif operations, official figures said.

In rabi season, which began in October, 11.68 metric tonnes of paddy was expected  in 1,17,198 hectares against the normal acreage of 1,98,135 hectares. According to officials, nearly 13 paddy varieties like BPT 5204 (Nellore Zilakara), Samba Masuri, Subbaiah Buddalu, M3 1010, NLR 3041, NLR 34449, NLR33892, ER1009, ADT 37, ADT43, Sona masuri, Kurnool variety and others are grown in the district, most important of them being Samba Masuri which is being cultivated in 12,800 hectares in rabi.

Agriculture joint director KV Subba Rao said that only 270 mm rainfall was recorded against 660 mm rainfall this year. However, with good inflows from upward areas, the reservoirs in the district have good inflows and officials are expecting good yields this season.

There is 56.821 tmc of water against full capacity of 78 tmc water level in Somasila reservoir, 9.40 feet against 12 feet capacity in Sarvepalli reservoir, about 18.60 feet against 21.45 feet in Kanigiri reservoir and 16.20 feet against 16.30 feet water is available in the current rabi season.

However, he said that there will be a setback to paddy cultivation under rainfed tanks and borewells in Udayagiri, Vinjamuru, Seetharamapuram, Msarripadu, Kondapuram, Duthaluru, Anumasamudrapupeta, Rapur and other areas because of drastic fall in groundwater levels.

‘’Despite recent heavy and incessant rains due to Helen, Leher, Phailin cyclones in the state, Nellore district did not get sufficient rains ,” he said.

However, rice millers say paddy farmers have secured 13.65 lakh metric tones of paddy during kharif while the yield would be 15.50 lakh metric tonnes during rabi in the district.

Meanwhile, wholesale rice traders, who saw good profits last year as they sold the Zilakara Masuri at Rs 48 per kg, Nellore Zilakara at Rs 38 per kg, may have to taste a bitter experience this year as they may have to face huge losses in the business with the prices of those varieties drastically coming down to Rs 38 and Rs 25 per kg due to high yield.

‘’If the situation continued this rabi it is better to wind up the business as it is highly impossible to survive in the rice trade as there is abnormal production in the district. The traders who expected good profits in the rice business stored lakh of tones in godowns and they may secure heavy losses this year,” Menta Hari Venkatesh, a wholesale rice trader  said.

Meanwhile, farmers can be assured of some good price to their produce with the administration ready to purchase 3.5 lakh tones of paddy during rabi for public distribution system under ‘Mana Biyyam Scheme’ in the district.

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