‘Puncha’ harvest back in full swing in Alappuzha



After the chaos caused by unseasonal rain last month, harvesting and procurement of paddy cultivated in the ‘puncha’ crop (first crop) season are back in full swing in Kuttanad.

A meeting chaired by Agriculture Minister P. Prasad on Saturday reviewed the ongoing harvest and procurement process.

Officials said that harvest had been completed in more than 16,000 hectares (ha). The Supplyco has so far procured 70,153.58 tonnes of paddy from the district, mostly from Kuttanad, and distributed ₹100.53 crore to farmers.

This season, farmers have undertaken paddy cultivation in more than 26,000 ha spread across some 600 padasekharams (polders) in the district, a major portion of which is in Kuttanad. The paddy harvest and procurement, which got under way in the last week of February, came to a complete halt after unseasonal rain wreaked havoc in the region in April.

Huge losses

Thousands of farmers suffered huge losses after incessant rain and strong winds coupled with bund breaches flattened harvest-ready crops in large tracts and submerged several fields in Kuttanad. According to the Agriculture department, the rain and waterlogging damaged standing paddy crops in 7,527 ha. in the district. The preliminary estimate pegged the loss at around ₹113 crore. Apart from the paddy cultivation, farmers growing banana, vegetables, betel vine, sesame, tuber crops and so on have suffered losses.


“At the beginning of the harvest, we were expecting to procure 1.2 to 1.3 lakh tonnes of paddy from Alappuzha in the ‘puncha’ crop season. But the rain has led to crop loss and it will be reflected in the overall yield. As per our revised assessment, the total paddy production is expected to be around one lakh in the district,” said Anil K. Anto, Paddy Marketing Officer.

Earlier, the sowing for ‘puncha’ season got delayed in several areas due to heavy downpours and floods that lashed the district in October-November last year. As a result, the harvest and procurement of paddy are set to go beyond the normal schedule into the first week of June.

Meanwhile, farmers have started preparing fields for the upcoming additional crop (second crop) season with sowing expected to begin later this month.


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