It has been for a while, the farmers in Chikkanayakanahalli taluk have been waiting for the pre-monsoon showers. Except for light showers in a few parts of the taluk, most of the areas are under a dry spell of drought.
The parched fields, dried-up wells, acrecanut and coconut trees and frustrated farmers are the tell-tale symptoms of a region awaiting good rainfall.
As if seeking an escapism from the long spell of drought, most of the residents in several villages seem to be killing their time discussing politics. During elections, politics was a hot topic in the bus stands, hotels, restaurants, tea stalls, saloons, etc.
Analysis, gossips, speculations, betting, the topic of elections took various forms and nature. With the heat of the elections having subsided, and rainfall continuing to play truant in the taluk, the farmers are now forced to face the grim reality.
The delayed rainfall has upset the farmers’ calculations about the yield. “Bengal gram plants should have flowered by this time. There is no point in sowing the seeds now,” said Umla Naika of Bhailappana Mutt. Besides, unable to afford fodder, majority of the farmers have sold their cattle for very low price. “How do you expect us to have a good yield,” asked Somashekhar, a farmer. Similar is the plight of a farmer Muniyappa in Maligehalli Bare. “I have been struggling to find fodder for my cattle as the prices of fodder have gone up. I really can’t afford it,” he lamented.
Light showers were witnessed in various parts of the taluk. But the farmers are apprehensive to till the land as the moisture may dry up the land.
When enquired Agriculture officer J Kiran said time is already up for the sowing of cereals. The department is issuing sowing seeds to farmers and till now 58.50 quintal of seeds have been issued. But the farmers are not keen to buy the seeds from the department, he added.
Agriculture Technical Officer Shashikumar said the situation is grim, when compared to previous year. Last year around this time the taluk had registered an average rainfall. There was some good rainfall last year, this time.
The sowing operations had been almost over. However, when rainfall played truant, the crops failed, leaving the farmers disappointed. The kharif and rabi crops, both failed bring the expected yield last year. This year, with rains hardly in sight, the farmers are only trying to be more cautious. They are wary of taking risks and hence, are still hesitant to begin the sowing operations, he said. The geographical area of 234 villages in Chikkanayakanahalli taluk is 1,10,933 sq km. Of the total area, only 63,827 hectare was suitable for farming, while 5,063 hectare comes under the catchment area. A target of conducting sowing operations in 48,480 hactare area with an expected yield of 70,353 tonne was planned. But a mere 250 tonne of yield was received from 33985 hectares, which sums up to 2.5 per cent.
This year, the agriculture department has set a target to sow in 48,470 hectares of land but the yield may not touch half the mark of previous year’s yield.
At this juncture, it would be feasible for the farmers to grow a few cereals, millets than investing in commercial crops and incur loss. Cereals and millets can be grown even in drought condition, suggested Raghu, a farmer from Gopalanahalli.