'Paddy fields being transformed to areca, coffee plantations'

How Long?: Women engaging in planting paddy sapling amidst rains. DH photo

Farmers say that they are fed up of paddy cultivation because of lack of farm workers.

While most farmers have decided to switch on to coffee and areca cultivation, there are a handful of farmers who have decided to cling on to paddy cultivation fighting all odds.

Small farmers with the land holding upto one acre or two have kept the fields as it is, as they know it that it is the only source of livelihood for themselves and their livestock. It is in these fields that planting and re-planting of paddy saplings has been going on in full swing.

With work in paddy field from June to August, farmers are happy with their paddy cultivation works, which keeps them busy all day long.

There is a popular belief in Malnad region that paddy cultivation in Malnad is a loss making venture. The main factor which used to squeeze the farmers out as the wage of the farm workers and now scarcity of farm workers. The number of farmers going for mechanised farming has increased drastically. The farmers have been rearing livestock themselves and now the women of the farmers’ families are seen toiling in the fields themselves.

The price of rice has been increasing.

With the extent of paddy fields shrinking drastically, farmers have been clinging on to paddy cultivation, with the optimism that the price of paddy will shoot up this year.

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