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Climate Change Threatens Paddy Farmers in Kuttanad: Decreasing Yield & Increasing Challenges

Paddy farmers in Kuttanad region are used to dealing with a variety of weather situations, but recent climate change has made it more difficult for them to produce a fair crop.

Shivam Dwivedi
Climate Change Threatens Paddy Farmers in Kuttanad: Decreasing Yield & Increasing Challenges
Climate Change Threatens Paddy Farmers in Kuttanad: Decreasing Yield & Increasing Challenges

The current 'puncha' crop season has been harsh for the majority of farmers due to a significant drop in paddy output. The average production reduced from roughly three tonnes per acre during a regular 'puncha' season to two tonnes.

The low crop yield has largely been observed from areas that grew Uma, the region's most popular rice type. 80-90% of fields are planted with the cultivar. Extreme weather events, according to P.J. Prasad, an experienced paddy farmer from Edathua in Kuttanad, are making it impossible to cultivate the crop.

"Farmers suffered losses due to torrential downpours during the previous puncha season." This time, though, the crop has been harmed by a lack of rain. I used to harvest between 2.5 and 3 tonnes of rice every acre. "The average yield dropped to 2.2 tonnes per acre this season," adds Prasad.

Climate change, according to scientists at the Rice Research Station, Mankombu, a research centre affiliated with the Kerala Agricultural University, is to blame for decreased output. "When the plants needed rain, the region experienced a dry spell." Plants lost moisture as a result of prolonged exposure to sunlight and high temperatures. It accelerated grain maturity but at a lower weight. Due to a shortage of rainfall during the plant flowering time, several farmers were obliged to allow saline water into their fields. It had an impact on plant health in a variety of ways. "The average yield has dropped to two tonnes per acre," says M. Surendran, professor and head of the Mankombu Rice Research Station.


Experts recommend rigorous adherence to crop calendars and adaptation methods to deal with the effects of climate change.

"Uma, a long-duration rice variety, yields three to three and a half tonnes per acre on average." Farmers have produced four tonnes from one acre on occasion. However, it is time to adapt to new surroundings. Drought-tolerant and other climate-resilient cultivars should be promoted. Farmers should finish seeding by the end of November, according to Surendran.

Meanwhile, the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation (Supplyco) has amended its Alappuzha paddy procurement objective. "Approximately 80% of the paddy sown area has been harvested, and we have procured 93,566 tonnes of paddy from the district thus far." "We set an initial target of 1,37,800 tonnes, but it has now been reduced to 1.15-1.2 lakh tonnes due to low yield," says Anil K. Anto, CEO of Anil K. Anto, paddy marketing officer.


Farmers have planted paddy on 28,663 hectares in the district, the majority of which is in Kuttanad.


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