Stakeholders at a workshop on ‘mechanised paddy cultivation' at the Krishi Vijnana Kendra in Mangalore have urged the Karnataka Government to follow the Kerala model of paddy cultivation, as they feel this will help them tackle labour shortage in the sector.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Naveen Kumar Rai, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Agriculture of the Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat, said the paddy cultivation in the district is coming down every year. This is mainly because of the shortage of agriculture labour in the district.
The members of the paddy task force in Kerala take up mechanised cultivation at the fields of farmers for a fee. This will help farmers who find it difficult to get farm labour. The same model should be followed in coastal Karnataka also, he added.
Endorsing his views, Mr K. Jayarama Rai, President of SKADS (South Kanara Agriculture Development Cooperative Society), said that lack of labour force in the agriculture sector has brought down the area of paddy cultivation in the district over the years.
Recently, the Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat sent a proposal to the State Government seeking the implementation of the Kerala model of paddy cultivation. If implemented, this will help tackle labour shortage in paddy cultivation, he said.
Mr A. Padmayya Naik, Joint Director, Department of Agriculture, Mangalore, said that mechanisation of paddy cultivation will be a necessity to tackle the labour shortage in the sector. Subsidy will be provided for the farmers who go in for mechanised paddy cultivation.
Giving the example of the paddy transplanter, he said farmers can own it and rent it out to others. One machine can transplant around two-three acres of paddy a day, he said.
Mr Balakrishna P., a paddy grower and member of zilla panchayat, said that there is a need to fix a support price for paddy, as the cost of production has gone up over the years.
Productivity will increase
Mr H. Hanumanthappa, Programme Coordinator, Krishi Vijnana Kendra, Mangalore, said that the mechanised paddy cultivation will help increase productivity by 15-20 per cent. At the same time, the cost of production can be brought down by 30 per cent, he said.
The workshop was jointly organised by the Krishi Vijnana Kendra, Mangalore; SKADS; the Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat; and the VST Tillers Tractors Ltd, Bangalore. Nearly 100 farmers from various parts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts attended the workshop.