Paddy cultivation in DK falls to 16k hectares

Farm labourers engage in transplanting paddy seedlings at Gurupura Kukkudakatte on the outskirts of Mangaluru.

The area under paddy cultivation in Dakshina Kannada has dwindled over a period of time.

Paddy cultivation being labour intensive, the farmers are not showing a keen interest in cultivating paddy – instead they have shifted to horticultural crops like arecanut.

The target for this year during the Kharif season is to cultivate paddy on 15,900 hectares while it is 36,000 hectares in Udupi district. It had been 27,800 hectares in 2018-19.

Paddy had been cultivated on 33,000 hectares in 2010-11. In 2017-18, paddy was cultivated on 23,343 hectares. The crops was grown on 28,500 hectares in 2016-17 and on 28,029 hectares in 2015-16.

In the present Kharif season, however, the target had been to cultivate paddy on 6,700 hectares in Mangaluru taluk; on 5,000 hectares in Bantwal taluk; on 3,000 hectares in Belthangady taluk; on 900 hectares in Puttur taluk and on 300 hectares in Sullia taluk.

Rain delay

Many upland farmers depend entirely on rain for paddy cultivation. The delay in monsoon this year has also affected paddy cultivation, said the farmers in the district.

According to Seetha, joint director of the Agriculture Department, the farmers are shifting their preference to horticultural crops. Several farmers have already shifted to arecanut cultivation, she pointed out.

Sources in the Department said that the farmers are looking at the commercial viability of the farming activities. The farmers, apparently, have been finding horticultural crops more profitable than paddy.

Incentives

According to farmer leaders, “Although the government has announced incentives for paddy cultivation in coastal and Malnad districts, the sops have not implemented so far. The incentive might help farmers to reconsider paddy cultivation.”

The production cost of paddy cultivation is high in the coastal districts when compared to other areas. Further, farmers are suffering from shortage of labourers and feel that paddy is not profitable.

In 2019-20, there was demand for 612 quintals of paddy seeds and the authorities have stocked up 632.75 quintals of seeds. The demand for fertilisers is 6,351 tonnes and 8,317 tonnes have been supplied to the district.

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