Intermittent rain leaves paddy growers edgy

Paddy crop ready for harvest at a field in Puttur in Dakshina Kannada.

The intermittent rain has provided respite to residents from the sweltering heat, but the farmers are a worried lot as continued showers will destroy all their efforts to reap a good paddy harvest.

“The rain may prove beneficial for long-term crops like coconut but for paddy, which is ready for harvest, it spells disaster,” vouched paddy growers in the district. Farmers are worried as the standing crops will rot due to heavy rain. Paddy growers in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts harvest the Khariff (first) crop in October- November.

Srinivas, a paddy grower in Udupi district, told DH, that he would wait for a couple of days before proceeding with the harvesting of the crop. "But if it rains continuously, the grains will fall to the ground and paddy crop will be damaged. Some farmers have already suffered crop loss as they had left the harvested crop to dry in the open in the field. Along with the paddy, even the hay is also destroyed, he added.

Manohar Shetty N, organising secretary of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and Hasiru Sene, said the incessant rain had resulted in water-logging of paddy fields at many places. "As a result, harvester machine  cannot be used to harvest the crop. Due to acute shortage of farm-hands, farmers are dependent on the harvester machine for harvesting the crop." 

Rain plays spoilsport

“The rain has come at a time when we were preparing to harvest the paddy. Now, the fields and the crop are both drenched and thus we cannot plan the harvest immediately. If the rain continues to lash the district, farmers will have to suffer huge loss,” Shetty said with anxiety writ large on his face.

The district needs rain after the completion of harvest as rainwater would increases groundwater level and would help the farmers to tackle water crisis during the peak summer, he said.

Since the sky had remained overcast, the farmers are preparing for the worst. “I have been cultivating paddy for many years. The rain has been posing hurdles to take up harvest. This year, arecanut is affected with fruit-rot disease and paddy is affected with irregular spells of rain.

"We farmers are losing both the crops,” said a farmer from Puttur.

The area under paddy cultivation in Dakshina Kannada district is 26,500 hectares while in Udupi it is 45,000 hectares.

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