State to seek Central aid to make up for crop loss

The State is in the process of compiling final crop loss figures, but preliminary estimates said districts such as Chitradurga, Chikkaballapur, Shimoga and Uttara Kannada had lost 20 per cent of its standing crops due to the rain. Jowar and maize crop were the casualty in Chitradurga, it was rice in Chikkaballapur.

Apart from Central aid, Karnataka would also be seeking withdrawal of a Central ban on paddy export from the State, Umesh Katti said. The minister charged the Centre with adopting a step-motherly attitude towards the Karnataka on the question of rice export.

While it allowed rice export from Punjab, it had placed a blanket ban on exports of the grain from the southern States.

Estimating the harvest prospects in the State, Katti said the rainfall was above average and crop yield was good, as sowing has taken place in 98.9 per cent of the 74 lakh hectares of cultivable land. This would help meet the targeted foodgrain production of 123 lakh metric tonnes. Grain production had been above average in Chikamagalur, Haveri, Kodagu, Mandya, Hassan, Gadag and Belgaum though Chitradurga, Davangere and Shimoga were likely to be affected adversely, Katti added.

The government was also planning to appoint agricultural scientists as nodal officers at the hobli level to provide scientific inputs to farmers on agricultural practices. Other initiatives on cards include enhancing the intake for BSc (agriculture) courses from the present 1,200 to 3,000 and opening up of more agricultural colleges.

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