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Sharp drop in paddy yield

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West Godavari district registered a sharp decline in the yield of paddy in kharif. The trend is attributed to the extensive damage caused by a series of three cyclones, one after the other. The crop cutting experiments undertaken by the Agriculture Department estimated the yield to be around 8.67 lakh tonnes, against the initial expectations of 12.36 lakh tonnes. According to V.D.V. Krupadas, Joint Director, Agriculture Department, the district’s average fell to 20 bags per acre, against 35 bags in the normal course.

The drop in yield is alarmingly higher in the Upputeru basin, the low-lying and the delta regions. Some fields in the Nidadavole area have recorded even 0-5 bags per acre during the crop cutting experiments. Swarna, the leading paddy variety widely grown in the delta region, was the worst-hit, while the other varieties such as 1061, 1064 and BPT-5204 were also badly damaged.
Workers unloading paddy stocks for milling after procurement from growers of Unguturu in West Godavari district.— PHOTO: A.V.G. PRASAD
Bumper crop in upland region

The upland region, however, has recorded a bumper yield of up to 45 bags in view of low intensity of cyclones. The drop in the yield is unlikely to have a direct impact on food security within the district as all the varieties raised locally are meant for outside consumption. District Supplies Officer S. Sivasankar Reddy ruled out the possibility of low paddy production hitting the annual levy targets.

The district administration has been mandated to procure 11.75 lakh tonnes as levy from millers this year for the two crop periods together. Mr. Reddy said the millers had procured 5.77 lakh tonnes of paddy from farmers and provided 2.67 lakh tonnes to the Civil Supplies Department as levy during kharif.

He pinned hopes on rabi, which is considered a season by growers for achieving higher yields since it is free of calamities, with regard to meeting the levy targets.

Stocks lifted on time

The general expectations over poor marketability of the produce, soaked in rainwater for several days, however, went wrong at the end of the day because of a huge demand-supply gap. The stocks were reportedly lifted by millers from fields much before the relaxation of the fair average quality (FAQ) specifications by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) with little insistence on moisture levels in the grains.

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