Harvesting will be conducted as per a special protocol from first week of Oct.
Amidst the pandemic and hardships caused by recent floods, Kuttanad is all geared up for paddy harvest.
According to Agriculture Department officials, harvest of the additional crop (second crop) will begin in the district in the first week of October. “The August floods had destroyed paddy in around 3,500 ha in the district. However, crop in around 5,300 ha survived the floods. We have made all arrangements for the harvest of the second crop,” Lata Mary George, Principal Agricultural Officer, said.
Ms. George said in view of the pandemic, paddy harvest would be conducted as per a special protocol. A committee involving agriculture officers and health workers would be constituted in all grama panchayats. It would prepare an action plan. Further, padasekhara samitis would sign an agreement with combine harvester machine agents.
Farmers have expressed concern over the shortage of combine harvesters and labour. However, officials said 82 combine harvesters would be needed and steps had been taken to bring the combine harvesters necessary from neighbouring States.
As per the protocol, operators of combine harvesters should undergo COVID-19 testing before starting their journey to Alappuzha. Once they reach the district, they are barred from interacting with local residents and farmers and travelling to other places. Agents should arrange food and accommodation for the operators in the respective grama panchayat itself. The harvester machines should be disinfected before and after harvest.
This is the third year in a row, Kuttanad suffered crop loss in the additional crop season. Last year, torrential downpour and increased flow of water from the eastern districts resulted in bund breaches and flooding, destroying paddy in large tracts. In 2018, back-to-back floods destroyed the additional crop in its entirety.