C'magalur farmers prefer ginger to paddy

C'magalur farmers prefer ginger to paddy

Progressive farmers worried over sudden shift

Ginger cultivation in the sprawling paddy field appears as if the farmers have almost stopped growing paddy in their fields. The progressive farmers themselves are worried over this sudden shift in interest, so much so that they assume a day may come when the farmers completely stop growing paddy, which is the traditional crop of Malnad.

To support the apprehension is the advantages that ginger crop is associated with.

Ginger demands less capital and expenditure, while it brings good profit. If some of the farmers cultivate ginger instead of paddy, few of the farmers give their paddy farm for lease to the Kerala based ginger growers, thus making easy bucks.

With it, most of the fields in Malnad are filled with ginger crop. The current rate of 60 kg ginger is Rs 750-900 in the market. The farmers who used to give their land to the Kerala based ginger growers, who were easily earning Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000 have now shown interest to grow ginger themselves, rather than giving the land for lease.

At a time, when the paddy growers earn Rs 500-Rs 600 for a quintal of paddy even after being prone to several problems including delay in fertiliser supply, untimely rainfall, shortage of labourers etc, ginger crop has emerged as a silver lining in the cloud.

According to an estimation, ginger crop in last five years has covered at least 10,000 hectares, out of 42,150 hectares of paddy field in the district. In Mudigere taluk alone, the paddy which was grown in 13,000 hectares of land four years back, has reduced to 11,000 hectares of land. That is, the ginger crop has replaced paddy in 3,000 hectares of land.

Shift in preference

This shift in the interest has not only turned as a boon to the farmers, but also the labourers. The paddy farm labourers who used to get daily wage of Rs 100-150, are offered with Rs 200-300 by the ginger growers. This has led to the labourers’ refusal to work in paddy fields and preference to work in ginger fields.

However, the ginger crop is also posing threat to the environment and the labourers.

With the ginger crop demanding high usage of fertiliser and pesticide for nurturing purpose, there are all chances of it causing health hazards to the labourers who work in the ginger field. While on the other hand the species like crab, fish and earthworms due to the excessive usage of pesticides.

The general public are also raising concern over the fertiliser and pesticides spoiling the water in and around the field. Responding to the sudden shift of interest, Taluk Agriculture Officer Siddhappa said that the farmers can get good yield for two years if they cultivate paddy in the ginger field. But gradually there will be a decrease in the yield. So the farmers should not move towards ginger cultivation, just for the sake of gaining high profit.

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