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‘Summer Crop Plan’ of cultivating pulses, oilseeds has farmers upbeat in Thoothukudi district

IND‘Summer Crop Plan’ of cultivating pulses, oilseeds has farmers upbeat in Thoothukudi district

Agricultural officials inspecting a field in Kayathar block in Thoothukudi district.
| Photo Credit: RAJESH N

The ‘Summer Crop Plan’ introduced in the district to increase area of cultivation of short duration crops like pulses and oilseeds is doing wonders for farmers in Kayathar block.

 The ‘Summer Crop Plan’ is an ambitious programme proposed by the Department of Agriculture for the summer season from April – June of 2024 to cultivate short duration crops like pulses, gingelly and oilseeds in areas where there is scope for raising a crop utilizing the soil moisture available or using the irrigation sources possible. This would augment the income of the farmer besides improving the soil fertility before the next crop season.

 It is a normal practice in Thoothukudi district to raise black gram in the fallow lands during February – March after harvesting the ‘pisanam’ season paddy raised during northeast monsoon. This type of cultivation is locally known by the term ‘nanjai tharisil ulundhu’. In the wetlands, just before harvesting paddy, black gram seeds are sown in the field. This seed gives yield utilising the residual moisture in the fields after the harvest of paddy. It is a convention in parts of Tiruchendur block alone to raise gingelly after paddy harvest in this method.

 The Thoothukudi district has been assigned an area coverage target of 1,705 hectare under pulses and 100 hectare each for gingelly and groundnut to be achieved during the summer season from April to June.

 The Joint Director of Agriculture Surulimalai said that pulses in 997 hectare, groundnut in 203 hectare and gingelly in 4 hectare totaling 1,204 hectare have already been achieved out of the total target of 1,905 hectare. Further millets such as cumbu, cholam and maize are raised in an area of 37 hectare, cotton in 281 hectare and paddy in another 367 hectare.

 “The balance of the summer crop plan target will be achieved in the ensuing months,” Mr. Surulimalai hoped.

 While pulses and gingelly are generally raised as a second crop following ‘pisanam’ paddy season, groundnut is raised mostly in the red soil tracts of Sattankulam, Kayathar and Srivaikundam taluks.

 Farmer Ettayya Pandi of Thirumangalakurichi in Kayathar block said that he was cultivating an Andhra groundnut variety in 10 acres and a variety from Gujarat in 3 acres. Both the varieties are nourished with drip irrigation laid with the subsidy assistance provided by the Department of Agriculture.

 The farmer said that each plant would bear 80 groundnut pods, of which 70 would get matured. The farmer said that he had applied gypsum on the 30th day and earthed up as advised by the agricultural officials for effective pegging and pod filling. The gypsum application not only increases the yield but also the oil content of the kernel.

 Another farmer Madasamy from Thirumangalakurichi cultivating black gram in 3 acres had installed rain hose for efficient irrigation water management. The crop is in flowering to pod filling stage.

 The yield of both the groundnut and the blackgram are expected to be good during this summer in Thoothukudi district. “Since we’re following the farming techniques advocated by the agriculture department officials, we’re sure of getting good yield in June with available water despite the scorching summer,” says Mr. Ettayya Pandi.

 The agriculture department officials, who visited the fields on Wednesday, recommended to the farmers to spray 2% Di-Ammonium-Phosphate for more flowering and pod formation resulting in better yields.

 Personal Assistant (Agriculture) to District Collector, Thoothukudi V. Martin Rani said the yield of these short term crops in Sattankulam and Srivaikundam taluks is also good following the isolated summer showers experienced in these areas.

 “So, this summer will ensure better revenue for the farmers who have gone for pulses and oilseeds cultivation,” says Ms. Rani.

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