The erratic start to this year’s monsoon has cast a shadow on the state’s paddy crop. With the tilling and sowing process delayed due to unpredictable weather in June, farmers are now facing the challenge of not being able to complete the 120-day crop cycle by the end of September. This delay has set the paddy harvest in Goa back by three weeks, posing concerns and uncertainties for the farming community.“Farming patterns have not been steady since the past three years. We are now starting to concentrate more on the manure application and farming techniques to ensure a good crop instead of letting climatic changes affect us,” said paddy farmer Nestor Rangel, who grows organic rice in Valpoi.
Last year, the state produced 1.3 lakh tonnes of paddy in the kharif and rabi seasons combined. Of this, production of 94,430 tonnes was recorded for the kharif season alone — a period that spans from June to September.
The timing and consistency of monsoon rain are critical factors that determine the success of the paddy crop.
The well-established 120-day crop cycle allows farmers to plan their sowing, nurturing, and harvesting activities with precision. However, with the delay in ploughing and planting, the timeline has been disrupted.
Typically, Goa sees its paddy being harvested in the first week of October, but this year, farmers are looking at another three weeks before they can even consider beginning their harvest. This extended timeline poses significant challenges, such as increased labour costs, uncertain weather conditions, and potential crop diseases.
Despite the challenges, however, the state’s resilient farming community remains hopeful, and so does the directorate of agriculture.
“We are not expecting any reduction in yield despite the delay,” said director of agriculture, Nevil Alphonso.
“There has been sufficient rainfall in September and we are hopeful that the delay in the monsoon will lead to an extended rainfall season lasting till October. There is presently enough moisture in the soil for the crops to yield good results,” he added.
This article has been republished from The Times of India