Farmers intensify paddy cultivation in Dakshina Kannada en

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The agriculture department in the district has set a target to cultivate paddy on 11,070 hectares (ha) of land during the kharif season. In 2020-21, the department had set a target to cultivate paddy on 10,260 hectares. However, during the previous Kharif season the paddy cultivation was taken up on 11,247 hectares.

The transplantation of seedlings will be intensified in the district next week. Farmers have taken up nursery work now and are getting ready for the transplantation, Joint Director of Agriculture department Seetha told DH.

The department has identified 5,800 acres of paddy fields that have been left fallow in the district. Efforts are being made to contact farmers and groups to take up cultivation on the fallow land, she said.

“We are hopeful that paddy cultivation will be taken up on more than the targeted area in the district this year,” Seetha stressed. Paddy cultivation may not be possible on all 5,800 acres of fallow land due to inundation of water during monsoon and other technical reasons, she added.

The department has set a target to cultivate paddy on 5,700 hectares in Mangaluru taluk, 3,020 hectares in Bantwal, 1,800 hectares in Belthangady, 350 hectares in Puttur and 200 hectares in Sullia.

The district has received bountiful pre-monsoon showers in April and May, which has helped farmers to initiate groundwork for paddy cultivation. The department has placed a demand for 999 quintals of paddy seeds from Karnataka State Seeds Corporation this year.

As there is relaxation for farming activities during lockdown, farmers had purchased required seeds and fertilisers. There is no shortage of paddy seeds and fertilisers in the district. Seeds varieties like ‘Jaya’, ‘Jyothi’ and ‘MO4’ are available in Raitha Samparka Kendras, Seetha said. The paddy transplantation will be completed by July-end, she added.

Farmer Francis Saldanha from Chilimbi said that he has been into paddy cultivation for the past 36 years.

“Though paddy is not a profitable venture, I have not incurred any loss from paddy cultivation so far. Earlier, buffaloes were used for ploughing the field. Now, tillers are procured from Bajpe to till the land. Bhadra MO4 seeds were directly sown on the field.  The harvest will be ready within 135 days. I get labourers from Permude during the harvest season to complete the harvesting,” he added.

Raitha Sangha leader Manohar Shetty said, “Many acres of paddy fields are left fallow in DK and Udupi districts. The government should chalk out a plan to promote paddy cultivation and implement Karavali package announced a few years ago. The government should purchase rice from farmers at village-level and use it for mid-day meals or disburse it among BPL beneficiaries through Public distribution system.”

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