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Coconut trees wilting away, farmers ask for compensation

Coconut cultivation in the Marungapuri panchayat union – the largest coconut cultivating area in the district – has been passing through a testing time, with the trees wilting due to acute drought.

The union, according to official data, accounts for 1,873 hectares of land under coconut cultivation.

Surrounded by hillocks, the union has been registering assured rainfall during the North East monsoon.

Farmers say that the continued failure of monsoon in the past has not only brought down the yield but also had an adverse impact on the size.

“Having raised coconut on extensive areas, we cannot go in for any other alternative crop,” say the farmers.

Visit any village including Marungapuri, Valanadu, Puththanmapatti, Yagapuram, Kallur, Malligaipatti, Vellaiya Kaundanpatti, Mudukkupatti or Poigaipatti, and one can come across a large extent of coconut groves in these villages.

Farmers say that the growth had got diminished by one-third of usual weight indicating that the quality was far less.

The quantum of harvest too was less.

R. Sekar, who had cultivated coconut on about five acres with 360 trees, said that the union, with red-loam soil, was suited for any crop in general and coconut in particular.

He had not come across such a drought condition in the last two decades. Against 15,000 coconuts a harvest, he could hardly get 3,000 coconuts now.

A few trees in his grove, raised three decades ago by his parents, had withered due to water scarcity and he had uprooted at least three trees so far.

Another farmer P. Pazhanisami said that since the size of the coconut was too small, it could be used only as copra for the extraction of oil.

The farmers pleaded for adequate compensation from the State government

Source:http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/coconut-trees-wilting-away-farmers-ask-for-compensation/article19189787.ece

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