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Harvest hit as farmers given substandard paddy seeds

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Sivaganga: Farmers who cultivated paddy in about 200 acres in Idaikattur village in Manamadurai taluk of Sivaganga district had their hopes dashed as they were given substandard paddy seeds by the government seed farm, according to them.

The Primary Agriculture Co-operative banks in Idaikattur supplies paddy seeds, pesticides and fertilizers to farmers of this region. Idaikattur is one region which has been able to tide over the worst water crisis, be it the people's needs or agriculture. This year, people from the villages of Pathinettamkottai, Pappankulam, Kallarkulam, Velur, Sirukudi, Idaikattur and Arulanandhapuram approached the bank for their seeds and were given ADT45 which is suited for their region.

The farmers were happy when the seedlings started showing healthy signs of growth initially, but they got disturbed when the paddy started appearing by the 55th day. According to the farmers, this is a sign of the crop failing, because when the paddy starts emerging at a very early stage it also withers before it mature. The due period for emergence of the paddy is 90 to 120 days, when it matures naturally and gets ready for a good harvest.

According to Thiagavalli of Idaikattur, this is the first time in recent times that the crop is failing. "We have been cultivating paddy in seven acres of land for over 50 years and such signs are bad for our crops," she said. The farmers say that they were confident that they would have a good harvest because their water supply was sufficient. But now the bad seeds have sounded the death knell for them.

CPM union secretary Manamadurai said that they had surveyed the region based on the farmers' request and found that the seeds given were substandard. These farmers said that they had purchased a 30 kg bag of paddy seed for Rs 960. If all had gone well they would have got 50 bags of paddy and made Rs 50,000 per acre, including the Rs 25,000 for the initial cultivation process. But, now nearly 70 farmers have been affected and their livelihood is gone and they are seeking a compensation of Rs 20,000 per acre, he said.

Meanwhile, the additional director of agriculture of Sivaganga visited the affected areas and ordered a testing of the seeds and soil.

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