Failed rains force ragi farmers to use tankers

Drought effect

Ragi growers here in the district are in a state of despair as a lack of rains have all but ravaged their crops.

Many are farmers who had sowed ragi in July and August in the hopes of rains which never came.

In the wake of failed rains and in the absence of other water sources, the ragi crop is expected to dry out, leaving farming families here with no grains and no fodder for their cattle. G Prakash, a farmer in Kamadhenuhalli village in the taluk, said that “ I had sown the Indaf-5 ragi variety in an acre of land in August. The ragi has now developed ears.

But because there have been no rains, the soil has lost its moisture content. If the situation is allowed to persist I am sure to lose the crop.”

He explained that to lose the crop at this late stage is unthinkable and in desperation, has taken to irrigating the land with water from private tankers – a costly alternative. By afternoon, Prakash had used six tanker loads of water to irrigate the crops, and as dusk fell, he explained that he required another three tanker-loads.

The absence of private borewells in and around Kamadhenuhalli village have also added to a dependence on water tankers. “Because buying water from tankers cannot be sustained for long, farmers in Kolar are headed for trouble,” said Neelakante Gowda, an agricultural expert.

A tanker-load of water costs Rs 350. To irrigate an acre of ragi, ten tanker-loads of water are needed. The mathematics of this translates to a farmer having to shell out Rs 3,500 to water an acre of land per day. “If there are no rains next week, one will have to irrigate using tanker water again,” Prakash said.

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