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India: Agricultural activities hit as farmers suffer from Chikungunya in Dakshina Kannada

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  • India: Agricultural activities hit as farmers suffer from Chikungunya in Dakshina Kannada


    Agri activities hit as farmers suffer from Chikungunya in DK

    Mangalore June 16: Agricultural activities in Dakshina Kannada, particularly in the Chikungunya-hit taluks Sullia, Belthangady, Puttur and Bantwal taluks, have come to a standstill with majority of the farmers and daily wage labourers are still under the arms of the unfortunate guest.

    The whole month of June is a significant period for farmers, especially for areca growers and paddy cultivators. Traditionally, initial days of monsoons are the prime time for paddy cultivators to involve in a wide range of activities  from ploughing to transplanting. On the other hand, this is also the season of spraying copper sulphate-mix to the areca plantations as a precautionary measure against rot disease.

    A large number of farmers and agricultural workers are still stuck amidst the fever. Even though some have overcome the fever, they have been advised a prolonged rest. According to Dr B Ganesh Prasad, a private medical practitioner in Kokkada, Belthangady taluk, still a huge number of patients are consulting him though new cases have been considerably decreased.

    "The main medicine for recovering from the post-fever complaints is a complete rest. This period may prolong up to 6 months," he said.

    In fact, this is the point that has aggrieved the people in villages. They have to follow the doctors advice if they have to overcome the problems; but if they follow the suggestion, they will lose their sources of livelihood. If the working class rests in bed throughout the rainy season, what will be the future of the agricultural community? What will be the prospects of these hamlets?

    Bare paddy fields

    Cultivation has not picked up in any of the Chkungunya-affected taluks. Just have a visit to the villages, where paddy cultivation has remained at least to a smaller extent, there are only bare fields to welcome you.
    "We are 8 members in our home; and usually we ourselves manage the affairs of our small field. Unfortunately, all got Chikungunya one after another. Two months are already over in June, and we are yet to start the works," said one Mr Eswara Gowda of Holebadi in Belthangady taluk.

    The families in Mittadka, for instance, used to handle the field activities on a sharing basis.

    As most of the houses have worn a gloomy look, only helplessness reigns the vast fields.

    Nobody for areca

    Areca growers are worried of the impending rot disease, a usual unwanted visitor.

    "Despite spraying bordo mix, the plantations get kole roga almost every year. And this year, we havent yet started the work, as the experts in the job are not in a position to climb the trees," said one Mr Sripathi V Bhat of Beeranthadka, Puttur taluk.

    "Perhaps, those with larger holdings can however manage as they are capable enough to hire workers from far away areas. It is we, with the smaller plantations, are caught between the tiger and the deep blue sea," said Mr Krishnamurthy of Peraje, Sullia taluk.

    Mr K V Prasad, an areca grower of Ilanthila village near Uppinangady said the areca growers are totally apprehensive that the kole roga may catch the plantations at any moment which would be difficult to control once it enters.

    It can be also noted here that the beedi industry, one of the prominent livelihood of the coastal districts, has too got a big blow from Chikungunya as many beedi rollers have been affected by the fever.


  • #2
    Re: India: Agri activities hit as farmers suffer from Chikungunya in DK


    Mosquitoes hit farmers hard
    16 Jun 2008, 0232 hrs IST,TNN

    MANGALORE: While the agriculture activities throughout the state are hit badly due to the shortage of fertilizers, in Dakshina Kannada district, it is a different story.

    The rapidly spreading chikungunya has affected the farming activities considerably.

    Though the region has received timely rain, the farmers here are not fortunate enough to benefit out of that. Chikungunya fever in the agrarian belt of the district has created a labour shortage as many of them are confined to their homes, fighting the fever.

    The paddy fields in Sullia and Puttur, the worst-affected taluks, are empty. Preparation for paddy cultivation like seedling and ploughing should have started by the first week of June as transplantation needs to be completed by the first week of July, but nothing has been done so far due to acute shortage of labour.

    ?We have 490 hectares of paddy field and everywhere agricultural activities have been hardly affected as farmers and agro labourers are down with fever. The labour charges too have gone high. One cannot find a labour for a daily wage less than Rs 125 which is very much higher than the usual wages of Rs 60-80,? said P R Keshava, technical assistant, department of agriculture, Sullia.

    "If the situation continues to be like this, there are chances of the agriculture produce coming down this year. But the department has not yet calculated the possible amount of losses," he said.

    However, worst hit by the disease are the rubber plantations where tapping activities have almost come to a standstill.

    The district has over 4,500 hectares of rubber plantations, majority of them in Sullia. Rubber growers were expecting good profits as the rubber rates have gone up to Rs 135 per kilogram this year.

    "The growers are a worried lot as the tapped raw rubber will coalesce and go waste. Rubber crop need special care. All activities should be done on time,"Keshava said. Other main horticulture crops of the region ? coconut and arecanut ? too are not free from the trouble. ?Monsoon is the time for medication to save the crops from diseases," he said.

    "For spraying medicines, one has to climb the trees and only a handful of people are available who can do this job," he added.
    The authorities are running against time in trying to combat the disease, which has hit hard farmers.