Now, crop failure stares farmers

Harvesting of ragi sown in 50,091 hectares of land delayed for want of rains

Now, crop failure stares farmers

: There seems to be no end for the  travails of farmers in the district. Bereft of irrigation facilities and prone to frequent drought, the peasants of the district are reeling under distress. The depleting groundwater has further increased the pressure on the “backbone of the country.”

While monsoons have failed miserably thus dwindling the khariff yield, the farmers, who pinned hope on rabi crops seems to have drawn a blank on this front also. With scattered rains, ragi, which should have been harvested by now, has began to sprout, albeit sparsely. Neither the crop is healthy. The spectre of crop failure is staring the farmers.

Scattered sowing

Kolar taluk, on an average should have received 137.1 mm or rains in October while the actual rainfall stands at 16.4 mm. Less than 10 pc of the average rainfall has put the farmers in a quandary.
Ragi is sown in 50,091 hectares of land of which 1,635 hectares is irrigated.

“Ragi has not been sown in single phase and rains too have been scattered. Hence one cannot expect absolute yield this year. We may get some yield if and only if it rains in November. The crop is sure to wither away it it does not rains,” says Chandrashekhar, a farmer.
Agriculture Department officers say that farmers could lay their hands on the crop if the present drizzle continues at least for ten days.

Price hike imminent

With the destruction of crop, the possibility of increase in its price also looms large. The price hovered at Rs 1,500 following good harvest last year. “The price may go up this year as production will be less,” opined Manjunath, another farmer.

The condition of farmers in Chikkaballapur taluk is no different. The district should have received a rainfall of 90 mm in June as usual. However, it has rained only 24 mm this year, delaying sowing process. Similarly, as against normal rainfall of 103 mm it has rained 87 mm in August. However, it has rained beyond expectation in September - 237 mm as against normal rainfall of 153 mm. But, Chintamani and Gudibande taluks have received scanty rains. While it should have rained 134 mm in October, the areas have received 45 mm in the said period.

The farmers have sown ragi, jowar, groundnut and tur. It was aimed to sow 1,44,255 hectare of land this season and only 1,29,639 hectares could be sown as rain played truant, thus registering 90 pc achievement. Ragi is sown in 45,800 hectares, jowar in 37,811 hectares, groundnut in 21,082 hectares, paddy in 2,649 hectare, tur in 8,766 hectare and horsegram has been sown in 6,165 hectares of land.

The significant feature this year is that the sowing has not been carried out in one stretch, but scattered in three phases. Rains are necessary for the crops sown in all the phases. The farmers are again facing the ire of Rain God. The crops could be harvested if it rains in November, says Joint Director of Agriculture Department, Nataraj. He also said that farmers need not worry about fertilisers as the district has sufficient stock.

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