Agri sector in dire need of heavy rains to survive

The district receives 33 pc less rainfall when compared to last year

The scanty rainfall has spoiled the agricultural activities in the district by taking a toll on the sowing and transplantation process. The poor showers have slowed down sowing of crops and major portion of the farmland still lacks irrigation.

Agriculture Department Joint Director Antony Maria Immanuel told Deccan Herald that the farmers in the district are anxiously waiting for the rainfall. If the district fails to receive adequate rainfall, the agriculture sector will provide a bleak picture. Only 361 hectares of farmland is covered by the rain so far as against the target of 45,000 hectares.

The transplanting process in the farmland is very bad. The deficit in the rainfall has massively affected the farming. Though the transplantation is done in 361 hectares of land, the area is not promising as the moisture is less and there is very less water in the field. Things will go completely out of control unless the rains lash the district within a week, he cautioned. Immanuel added that during last year, the transplanting had covered nearly 3000 hectares of farmland.

33 pc deficit in rain

The Joint Director said the average rainfall the district received as on June 23 is 1007.70 mm, whereas 1219.60 mm of rainfall was received in the last year during the same period. However the present rainfall up to June 23 in the district is 674.10 mm. There is deficit of 33 per cent when compared to average rainfall, while there is deficit of 45 per cent when compared to the rainfall of the last year till June 23.

Compared to last year, the seed distribution is also very less. Last year the department had distributed 1,731 quintal of paddy seeds to 4,175 farmers. However, at present we were able to distribute only 1,384 quintal of paddy seeds for 3,250 farmers at subsidized rates, he said.

The JD said as many as 1,000 hectares of nursery is prepared, which would be sufficient to 10,000 hectares of farmland for transplanting. If there is no rainfall, the nursery will also be affected badly.

He said the department has held talks with Karnataka State Seed Corporation (KSSC) to provide short duration varieties like Jyothi (red rice variety) for the district which needs only 90-100 days for cultivation. “We can save one month through this contingency plan. The MO4 varieties of paddy seeds need at least 120-130 days for cultivation,” he added. He said the farmers can avail the insurance facilities under National Agriculture Insurance Scheme at Gram Panchayath level. Rs 578 should be paid for one hectare by the end of June and get the insurance benefits for the crops.

‘Land turns barren’

Meanwhile, Udupi district Farmers Association President Satyanarayana Udupa said unless the district gets heavy rains in another 10 days, nearly 90 per cent of the paddy field will become barren owing to improper timings of the cultivation. The farmers are waiting for the shower with  seedlings and transplanting process which is underway. The crops that are yielded after October will be of no use as there will be no rainfall.

At least a couple of showers in the early stage is very much essential. Some 10 per cent farmland can be cultivated which is dependent on alternative irrigation sources, however majority of the farmland in the district is mainly dependent on rain. If there is no rain, the paddy cultivation will completely collapse. Udupa felt the areca and coconut plantations will also be affected with the variations in the climatic conditions in areas like Haladi.

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