Transplantation of paddy seedlings is in full swing in Cumbum valley in Theni district, spreading between Gudalur and Palanichettipatti.
Public Works Department officials have been discharging 500 cusecs into Periyar river for irrigation and to improve storage level in Vaigai dam. Even as poor rainfall in Kerala delayed discharge of water from Periyar dam for irrigation by a month, intermittent showers helped farmers prepare their fields and raise nurseries. With sharp increase in discharge from the dam, water was available in almost all areas.
Work started in head areas
The farmers said they had started transplantation work in head areas. There was no delay in raising nurseries there.
But, the farmers in tail-end areas have just started preparing fields as they received water only recently. Supply channels with concrete flooring carry water to tail-end areas quickly without much seepage.
Despite effective propagation of mechanisation, several farmers, mostly tiny and small farmers, follow traditional farming methods like using bullocks to plough lands and preparing fields for manual sowing.
A majority of the farmers preferred manual transplantation as mechanisation required a lot of preparatory work.
Transplantation machines available in the district were not suitable to the fluffy soil condition in the valley, said A. Periyasamy of Cumbum.
Manual ploughing was very suitable for small land holdings. The existing work force was insufficient to meet the demand as several youngsters no more preferred farm work. The number of farm labourers had shrunk in the district sizably, said the farmers.
Source: The Hindu