State stares at 25 pc shortfall in crop production

 Vice Chancellor of the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) K Narayana Gowda has said that there will be a shortfall in the annual crop production by at least 25 per cent due to the prevailing drought situation in the State. 


 Gowda said during 2011-12, crop production was 125 tonnes and during 2010-11, the figure was 139 lakh tonnes.  “This year, the production figure may touch 100 lakh tonnes, provided we receive normal rainfall henceforth,” he said. He said paddy production was hit hard in the State, due to the scanty rainfall in south interior Karnataka, especially in Cauvery command area. During normal rainy season, paddy sowing is taken up on around three lakh hectares in this region.

However, this time the sowing is limited to 1.5 lakh hectares. Only in regions fed by water from Tunga and Bhadra rivers, paddy sowing is better as the rainfall is comparatively better. Even maize production is hit in North Karnataka and Hyderabad Karnataka regions. Sowing is down by 40 per cent, he said. UAS officials said the State was facing a situation similar to 2002 and 2009, when there was significant negative departure in south-west monsoon. “Whenever such a departure occurred, there has been significant decline in kharif production,” said a senior scientist from UAS.

 Good rains predicted


 Professor of agro-meteorology at UAS M B Raje Gowda said there was good news for farmers as the weather department had predicted rains to be normal in August. “As on Monday, deficiency in rainfall is 37.7 percent (285 mm as against normal rainfall of 455 mm) for the State as a whole and for south interior Karnataka, it is 47.5 per cent,” he said.  Raje Gowda said rain forecast for south interior Karnataka for August is normal and it will be around 88 mm. In September, 120 mm rainfall is expected for the region. 

 Mandya worst hit

 Raje Gowda said Mandya was the worst-hit district in this year’s drought as scanty rainfall up to -60 per cent has been recorded here so far. Sugarcane and maize are withering in Mandya, he said. Only  Gulbarga, Yadgir, Bidar and Kolar districts received normal rainfall. High temperature areas in these districts contribute for precipitation and rainfall. Hence, many taluks in these districts have been declared drought-hit, he said. 

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