A simple, practical solution to save harvested crop from untimely rain

Here Is a report the like of which appears again and again, every year, across India.

Unseasonal rains damage paddy crops in Telangana

Heavy rain was reported in different parts of Telangana resulting in widespread damage to paddy crops harvested, and kept in heaps on the farm, or stored at procurement and marketing centres. Unseasonal rains across the State damaged paddy that is left unprotected.

Paddy Rice in Rain

Such pictures as above appeared in the media during the current pre-monsoon season too in countless numbers..

Lakhs  of tons of paddy, left in open without any cover to protect from rain, is  damaged every year. It happens due to various reasons including lack of gunny bags, transport, godowns, marketing arrangements to buy new harvest, callous governments and officials.

Untimely rains have become increasingly very common in several places, may be due to global warning, environmental degradation etc. Our farmers, particularly, paddy growers have become big losers.

The farmers, more so the small peasants, face many odds starting from spurious seeds and fertilizers, lack of proper power and irrigation facilities etc to produce and market their crops.

The minimum support price is around Rs20/kg. for paddy. Once it is wet or soaked the purchasers offer reduced  rates. The farmer is the sufferer.

The suggestion made here (see diagram below) is to raise a small elevated platform say about 3 feet high at the beginning of the season in their field, in the shape of PLUS in a square field or in the center of a rectangular field along  the long side. It should be around 2-3 feet below the ground, strong enough to see it is not uprooted by weight of grain or stream of rain water.  

The objective is to salvage the crop with the help of only two persons, may be  the man and his wife, within a few hours of getting alerts of an impending rain. The shape is suggested keeping the above in mind.

Paddy Saving Platform

 The construction suggested is with low cost, low technology, with locally available material and also long lasting. We build a 3-feet high platform, and fix a GI CHAIN LINK FENCE(GLF) on it, as shown in the rough diagram.  Any such cheap, locally available, strong  wooden pillars (stems cut from nearby trees) may be fixed in the ground. The GLF is nailed to the stems fixed in the ground with the help of Rose head nails with a large flat washer. The platform  is ready. 

The suggested platform occupies only a small area of about  1% of the farmland. Even the land and platform can be used to grow vegetable creepers like snake gourd, bottle gourd, cucumber etc in normal times. It can be built at the edge of a farm also, adjoining the neighbouring farmer, so that either of them can use it depending on their needs.

How to use:

In case of untimely rain prediction or indication, tarpaulins, kept ready by the farmer, are spread over the platform. The paddy bags if filled, or even loose paddy, can be loaded on to the platform within a few hours. Even mature paddy ready to harvest can be cut and stacked there on the platform. Then cover/wrap the whole thing in the same tarpaulin and fasten it firmly to the GLF. This can withstand a heavy rain and a stormy gale of even high speed, and protect the grains.

The harvest is protected even from flowing water in the farm.  The GLF, well-fixed, can withstand any amount  of weight. GLF lasts for more than a decade or even more.

The design and dimensions are suggestive, approximate and can be varied depending on crop yield size or on the experience of the farmer. It may be useful not only for paddy, but other crops too.

This was suggested to a local official years ago. He appreciated, but did not follow up. Huge avoidable losses continued for years.

The authorities also can take initiative and promote the idea as it saves the government that is pressed to provide relief to farmers who lost their crops due to rains.

 This was recently published in the agriculture column of leading Telugu daily, Sakshi on May 14 . There were many phone calls to the author, within hours of publication, from several farmers who appreciated the idea as simple and workable. Hence it is translated into English, to be available to a larger section of people.  

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Author Srirama M  is basically an electrical engineer, a Fellow of Institution of Engineers, who had worked in public sector coal mine industry of Singareni Collieries of Telangana. He had lived and worked in coal- mining areas of all four districts, located in backward areas,  and observed working people. He worked from the ground level as an Engineer and Manager, and was trained in Cost Accountancy too.  He had decades of experience, in managing one lakh strong man-power, including their housing colonies. He retired as Chief General Manager, but lives in a frugal way, in an old house, in a small town. Now aged 80, he keeps himself active, volunteers to teaching young students.

His whatsApp Number: 83095 77123

You may mail to his brother at [email protected]

A few articles by the author were published earlier by countercurrents.org.

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