Rains came late for maize farmers in Perambalur

Last year, the farmers had lost their crop to fall armyworm

The abundant rains in Perambalur district has meant precious little for maize farmers whose crops have already withered. They did not have the required water to sustain the crop when there was a dire need.

Unfortunately, the timing of the rainfall has also not suited cultivators of shallot, another major crop grown in the district.

While shallots are grown around Esanai and surrounding villages, maize is raised in other parts of the district. “This year, cultivation of both maize and shallots has seen a crisis. With rain pouring at an odd time, shallots have become rotten while the maize crop needs no water now as it has already withered,” a farmer said.

Maize does not need large quantities of water to grow, but requires rainfall right before the fruiting stage. Last year, the maize farmers had lost their crop to fall armyworm, an invasive pest.

K. Rajanandham, a maize farmer in Neduvasal said that he had invested ₹ 25,000 per acre for his four-acre land to raise the crop. “After the crop dried, I had to clear the entire area and plant curry leaves. There is not much we can grow in these dry parts, but we need to eke out a living,” he rued.

Deputy director of Horticulture S. Singaram said a total of 60,000 hectares of land was under maize cultivation in the district. While in many parts the maize crop has been harvested, some areas have been affected by irregular rains, he said. If farmers incur any losses, they will be compensated through Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), he added.

Each maize farmer had paid ₹400 per acre as premium under the PMFBY crop insurance scheme.

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