Harvesting for the 2018 Yala season commenced in the Ampara district, recently and the process is in in full swing in the Pottuvil, Addalaichenai, Akkaraipattu, Alayadivembu, Thirukkovil, Sammanthurai and Irakkamam Divisional Secretariat divisions.
Farmers said they expected to reap a better harvest this year compared to that of last year, adding that they acquire an average yield of 100 to 130 bushels per acre.The price of rice in the district had also been reduced due to the Yala harvest.
Farmers had complained that their produce could not be sold under the prices set by the government and were hence, selling paddy to private rice mill owners. Private millers offer money immediately, they added.
Previously, the price of one bag of paddy (66 kilograms) was Rs. 2,300, but at present, that price had dwindled to Rs. 1,800.Manual harvesting processes carried out by agricultural labourers are no longer in practice. Combine harvesters are utilised to carry out harvesting activities in an area spanning five to six acres per day.
Paddy crops in certain areas had been affected by leaf-roll disease, among other blights and as such, their yields had declined.About 26,000 acres of selected paddy lands were cultivated in the Ampara district during the Yala season. However, several areas in the Ampara district were affected by the prevailing drought as well.
Usually, 120,000 acres of paddy lands are cultivated during the Yala season. Due to insufficient rainfall during this year, however, the entire extent of paddy lands in the district cannot be cultivated.