Agriculture in Kuttanad
May 17, 2012 By Leave a Comment
Kuttanad has for long been known as the granary of Kerala. This major rice growing belt has more than 145,000 of wetlands under cultivation. The lush green paddy fields extending well beyond the distant horizons provide a stunningly beautiful sight for many tourists and travelers of the region.
The agricultural practices and cropping methods used in Kuttanad are quite unique when compared to those in the rest of India. Since much of the land lies below the sea level, the paddy fields situated along the waterways need to be protected by strong and carefully designed ring bunds.
The maintenance of these ring bunds in itself is a huge labor intensive operation that needs the deployment of thousands of farm workers every year. Water is let in and drained out from time to time as per changing requirements of the paddy crop. In good old days there were huge waterwheels manually driven for the purpose of both letting in and dewatering the paddy fields.
In recent times, the waterwheels are increasingly being replaced by electric motors.
Annually about two hundred thousand tones of rice paddy are produced in Kuttanad. Most lands are cultivated twice a year. Paddy cultivation being the main source of livelihood, many farmers are now adopting modern methods of farming with high yielding variety seeds, chemical fertilizes and modern farm machinery. The harvesting of rice in Kuttanad still remains a major labor intensive operation. The harvesting season is full of fun and festivity for the people.