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food for thought:An agricultural worker showing the damaged onion at P.K. Agaram village near Tiruchi on Tuesday.
TIRUCHI: Onion is yet another cash crop which has suffered extensive damage during the incessant rainfall continuing in the district for the past few days.
The farmers of the Thuraiyur, Uppiliapuram and Pullambadi blocks are the worst hit and the crop raised in about 700 hectares of the total area of 2,000 hectares has developed roots, thereby affecting the growth of the bulb.
“We have suffered total crop loss and are waiting for government compensation to make good a part of the loss”, observed a cross section of the onion farmers.
Onion is raised in abundance in Venkatesapuram, Okkarai, Chikkatambur, Kannanur, Palayam (Thuraiyur block); Pachaperumalpatti, Govindapura and Koppampatti (Uppiliapuram block); Ootathur, Nambukurichi, Sirukalapur, Peruvalapur, Peria Kurukkari Agaram and Kanakiliyanallur (Pullambadi block). Chinna vengayam (Co-5) raised in about 660 hectares and bellary raised in about 40 hectares have suffered damages unable to withstand the brunt of the rain havoc.
Many farmers lament that the damage has come just a couple of weeks ahead of the harvest of the crop raised during Purattasi pattam season. The initial spell of rain in the early Purattasi raised their hope of a higher harvest this season. Untimely and widespread showers has caught the onion farmers on the wrong foot.
K. Kannusamy of Peria Kurukkai Agaram says that he had utilised all his onion seed for the Purattasi season and had also spent about Rs.90,000 for raising the crop in three acres. He raised the crop on a limited extent of just three acres, expecting monsoon rainfall midway. Now the entire crop has suffered damage with deep growth of roots below the bulb, damaging the quality and deliciousness of the crop.
“The price of the onion is fixed only based on the size of the bulb. The rain played spoilsport in diminishing the bulb size, thus causing the plant to develop roots. Now I have pressed into service a dozen labourers to pluck the damaged plants and salvage them to the extent possibly,” he says with sadness writ large on his face. Although he is quite sure about that he would not make any profit this season, he attempts to protect the soil and its texture, lest the crop should decay. Against his usual harvest of five tonnes per acre, he anticipates a very meagre yield of poor quality. What worries the farmers most is the fact that they have lost all their seed in the recent rainfall. They have to invest an additional expenditure for the purchase of seeds next season.
The Horticulture Department officials visited parts of the three blocks, besides Manachanallur, since Saturday to assess the loss.
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