Heavy rains to bring cheer to paddy farmers

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Panaji: Heavier than normal rains in the state during the ongoing monsoon season is likely to have a favourable impact on agriculture, according to the government.

On Monday, officials from the directorate of agriculture, Tonca said that they expect ample harvest from paddy sowing taking place in farming talukas. The abundant rains will benefit paddy farmers primarily in the upland talukas of Ponda, Quepem, Canacona and Sanguem.

“The overall impact of the copious rains on farming activities so far looks favourable and we only fear a dry spell due to some deviation in the weather,” said S Wagle, deputy director of agriculture.

About 61 per cent of the paddy transplanting has been completed, he said, adding, “The paddy crop can withstand few days of dry spell but is dependent on continuing wet spell to give good yield.”

The agriculture department distributed about 550 tonne of paddy seeds to farmers in the 2020 kharif season as against approximately 400 tonne distributed in the 2019 season and based on the increased distribution expects acreage and cultivation of paddy to be higher, said the deputy director. 

Cultivation of paddy in the monsoon or kharif season is important as it accounts for about 70 per cent of the total paddy grown in the state. In 2018-19, of the 1,48,273 tonne of paddy as much as 105,402 tonne was in the kharif season. 

The optimistic outlook of the department is on the heels of a robust rabi season where the state witnessed bumper harvest of vegetables. 

“Heavy rains are good for paddy crop in hilly regions (upland) although it can lead to water stagnation in coastal areas. However, so far we have not received any adverse reports from farmers and anticipate the copious rains to have positive effect on cultivation,” said Wagle.

Besides paddy, officials in the agriculture department are also encouraging farmers in upland talukas to cultivate nachne and wari seeds. About 1,500 tonne of nachne and wari seeds have been distributed to local farmers.

Officials are also trying to form farmer groups so as to encourage community farming in the state. A four-member high-powered committee (HPC) headed by the agriculture minister has approved three community farms located in Davorlim, Fatorda and Majorda.

The state provides financial assistance to community farms on the basis of acreage with Rs 2.5 lakh assistance per hectare. In addition, community farmers are also granted financial assistance for undertaking infrastructure works on the farm. The government reimburses 90 per cent of the cost of infrastructure incurred in the community farm.

The state so far has received surplus rainfall as per the data released by the IMD. Between June 1 and July 22, the state normally should receive 1,652 mm of rainfall but with the monsoon unusually active, the state has received 1,679 mm “of rainfall.