Farmers, who had happily gone in for paddy cultivation on over 66,000 hectares in the ‘pisanam’ season, thanks to the abundant rainfall during the northeast monsoon, are now a dejected lot as they have to cough up a huge amount for hiring harvesters from private firms.
After a gap of six years, the district recorded 1,320 mm rainfall against the average annual rainfall of 814 mm. Consequently, all 11 dams overflowed and 2,305 of the total 2,449 irrigation tanks had significant storage as on February 15.
Buoyed by the abundant storage level , farmers cultivated ‘pisanam’ paddy on 66,454 hectares.
To ensure better yield, Collector M. Karunakaran made arrangements for adequate stock of fertilizers, especially urea, in all primary agricultural cooperative banks. The farmers were eagerly waiting to get a bumper harvest this time.
However, they are now facing an unexpected expenditure towards the end of the season for hiring harvesters from private firms.
Farmers, who can hire harvesters at a minimum fixed rate from the Department of Agricultural Engineering, are now left at the mercy of private firms as the department has only four machines, including the one it got from Tiruttani, which is not sufficient for harvesting paddy.
“While the Department of Agricultural Engineering charges Rs. 1,415 for one hour (per harvester), the private firms demand Rs. 2,600 per hour. Since the department has only three harvesters, we are left at the mercy of private firms and forced to give the hiring charges they demand,” says S.T. Shaik Maideen of Vadakarai.
No proposal
Executive Engineer, Department of Agricultural Engineering, Muthukumarasamy said, “There is no proposal to get additional harvesters from the government and hence we are getting machines from other districts where harvesting is over. As of now, the number has gone up to four as we have received a machine from Tiruttani.”