Late sowing and untimely showers could be causes for concern, but the delta farmers foresee good potential for short duration crops this season.

Cauvery delta farmers are still hopeful of saving the Kuruvai crop this year, despite the failure of the South-West monsoon and the delay in the opening of Mettur reservoir.

Late sowing and untimely showers could be causes for concern, but the delta farmers foresee good potential for short duration crops this season.

Conceding that the weather cycles were becoming highly unpredictable in recent years impacting crop pattern, the Secretary of the Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Welfare Association, Mr K. Ranganathan, said, “Global warming is taking away the old certainties of monsoon, it is highly erratic today, not just in India, but across the world.”

“Every day is a worry until the rains come to the growing regions, particularly those that bank on rain-fed cultivation practices. If the rains are delayed or bad, there is delay in sowing, yields could be lower and the quality could be impacted. It is a perennial curse for Tamil Nadu. We have to look at other alternatives,” he said.

However, the rains that battered parts of Kerala and Karnataka early this week, seem to have brought some respite to farmers.

Mr Ranganthan believes that around 1.5 lakh acres would be covered under Kuruvai this year.

“It might be difficult to cover 2 lakh acres, but we should be able to do 1.5 lakh acres,” he said, bringing to mind the huge acreage of almost 4.5-5 lakh acres under Kuruvai in the early 1880s.

Farmers have planted in about 10,000-15,000 acres and the rest of the area should be covered in the next fortnight or so.

Farm labour is an issue today. It is not merely availability, but the increasing cost of labour and other farm inputs that is making agriculture an unviable proposition today, he said.

(This article was published on July 5, 2012)
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