K'taka stands second among drought-hit states

K'taka stands second among drought-hit states

Drying rivers, depletion of ground water levels, global warming are concerns

K'taka stands second among drought-hit states

Among the States worst affected by drought, Karnataka stands second in the country, said senior journalist Nagesh Hegde, here on Tuesday.

He was speaking at a workshop on ‘Agriculture and Economic Literacy’, jointly organised by the Centre for Proficiency Development and Placement Services, University of Mysore; Prasar Bharathi; Akashavani and National Bank for Rural Development.

“Rajasthan is worst affected by drought in the country. In Karnataka, drought is not merely a shortage of rainfall. Drought has affected soil, lakes and forests of the State, resulting in a decline in bio-diversity in the region. Along with these issues drying rivers, depletion in ground water levels, globalisation, global warming and migration from rural to urban areas are a major concern,” he said.

Even though the population of farming community in the State was close to 3.5 crore, journalists rarely focused their attention on the woes of the community.

Noting these problems, several associations, such as the Deccan Development Society, Hyderabad was providing mass communication tools for farmers, which was bringing some of the problems faced by farming community to the attention of general public, he said.

Noting that private companies were slowly monopolising varieties of seeds, he said that popular media should alert farmers about these developments. Lok Adalat member and environmentalist A N Yellappa Reddy raised concerns over the depletion in soil fertility, which he said had affected agricultural activities. 

“While a person speaks about Gross Domestic Product (GDP), only economic development is taken into account. Environmental losses, such as the loss of fertile top layer soil during floods is not included or even discussed,” he said.

Fertile soil

Recalling the floods of North Karnataka five years ago, he said that 10 inches of fertile soil in the flood affected regions were washed away. “Along with the soil, organisms that contributed to the fertility of the soil were also washed away. However, nobody took any action to address the loss of soil fertility,” he said.

He said that environmental degradation of the country started in 1960, following rapid industrial development. “Due to human greed, condition of the environment has been degrading year after year. The problems seen in North Karnataka five years ago, is being witnessed in Kashmir, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh now,” he said.

Speaking at the inaugural of the programme, Vice-Chancellor of University of Mysore, K S Rangappa said that 13 million farmers had quit agriculture during the past two decades, reducing the extent of agricultural land by 2.76 million hectares during the same period.


He said that migration of youth to urban areas should stop, if this problem had to be addressed.

“One of the major reasons for farmers to abandon agriculture was that it is not profitable. However, attempts are being made by the government to ensure a four per cent growth in the sector in the coming years,” he said.

Even though farmers are affected by several problems, shortage of water and power had hurt them the most. These issues should be addressed to make farming more friendly, he added. 

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