Late monsoon slows down sowing

Hopes sink lower and fears of drought aggravate among farmers in Kolar

Late monsoon slows down sowing

Sowing in the district has slowed down due to delay in pre-monsoon showers, aggravating fears related to drought among farmers.

The district has struggled with drought for the last three years, and the condition seems to only continue this year too. The rain that was expected in April arrived almost a month late, in May. The situation, however, did not improve for farmers, who are all ready to sow seeds after readying their fields, and are waiting desperately for showers in June.

Short-term crops like ragi, beans, black gram and millets seem the best options for the farmers, under the present circumstances. Sowing for long-term crops like paddy, groundnut, tur and sesame, however, has become a matter of great apprehension for the farmers.

Little rain

The district had received up to 222.9 mm rain by June 15, last year. This time, however, the aggregate has been only 171.7 mm so far, falling short by 51 mm. The normal level of rain in the district through June is 54 mm, which, the residents of the district hope will be reached at least by month end.

N R Chandrashekhar, a farmer from Nenamanahalli in Kolar taluk, who won awards for his organic techniques said, “Long-term crops like tur and paddy should have been sown in May itself, but that could not happen. Now, I find the weather is not conducive to sowing even paddy.”

B Munegowda, a farmer from Ankatatti, too expressed his struggle against the natural conditions and situations.

“I set up rows in my fields last month to sow tomato. But, without rain, even the borewell water was not replenished and I could not carry out the sowing,” he said. “The mulberry crop in my field has withered away. How sufficient would a rain for barely two days be, for agriculture?”

Waiting to sow

Vishwanath, farmer and president of Sugatur Gram Panchayat, said, “We had initially tilled the land and waited.

Now it is already the second phase, which involves sowing, but the lack of proper rain is an extremely problematic situation.”

Farmers in Kolar district tilled the land in April-May season but are yet to get a chance to sow. Sowing has been undertaken on only 225 hectares out of the total 1.02 hectares of land. Officers in the Agriculture Department say at least 15 to 16 thousand hectares of land should have been sowed by now.

Sesame has been sowed on 108 hectares in Malur taluk.

Sowing of groundnut has been hardly hit due to shortage of rain. The process has been carried out on 75 hectares in Mulbagal and Srinivaspur taluks only. There is a chance for further sowing of groundnut only if there is rain by June end as the sowing can continue till July 15 at least.

“If we are denied the opportunity, the next option is ragi,” said the officers. Ragi can be sowed till August, provided it rains well, they added.

Manure, seeds

The district has stocked up to 8,120 tonnes of fertilisers. Private sellers have 4,350 tonnes while the Karnataka Central Cooperative Federation has 3,770 tonnes. Additional supply will be available this month, and there is no fear of shortage of fertilisers.

There is a demand for up to 9,120 quintal of seeds in the district and 5,124 quintals have already been supplied.

Officers said up to 3,028 quintals of groundnut seeds, 680 quintals of ragi seeds, 303 quintals of tur seeds, 3,090 quintals of paddy seeds, and 70 quintals of cow peas and other seeds are stocked in godowns.

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