Food production in Karnataka is set to fall short of the stated target by a whopping 35% in the current financial year on account of successive years of drought.
The state will produce only 91.45 lakh tonnes of foodgrain against the target of 140 lakh tonnes, Minister for Agriculture Krishna Byre Gowda said here on Wednesday.
The drastic reduction in foodgrain production has been caused by the failure of southwest and southeast monsoons. As many as 139 out of 177 taluks were declared drought-hit in the kharif season. In the rabi season, this figure went up to 160.
Rice, maize, jowar and ragi crops will be the worst affected. Production of oil seeds and cotton is also estimated to come down. But production of pulses will be better than that of cereals. In 2015-16, food production in Karnataka was 110 lakh tonnes, he added.
Gowda, however, said the supply of food items to people was unlikely to be affected as the country as a whole was set to register record food production of 170 million tonnes and because the agro market was integrated. He added that the figures were tentative.
‘Krishi Bhagya a success’
Quoting a survey conducted by the University of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences, Shivamogga, the minister said the government’s flagship Krishi Bhagya scheme had helped farmers double their yield. “Beneficiary farmers have made a profit of Rs 15 on investment of every Rs 100. The crop yield has doubled in many instances. This is despite drought in almost all parts of the state,” he said, quoting the survey.
Gowda, however, did not disclose all the findings of the survey. Under the scheme, the government provides financial assistance to farmers to build farm ponds with polythene linings (to prevent percolation), instal pumps and sprinkler irrigation systems (for efficient water utilisation).
The minister said the government would build 30,000 more farm ponds in the current financial year given the demand from farmers.
He also said the government would provide shade nets at 50% subsidy to cover farm ponds given the increasing accidents. The decision to cover farm ponds was taken as cases of farmers and cattle drowning in them were reported from across the state, he added.
Estimated production of major food crops:
91.45 lakh tonnes (target: 140 lakh tonnes)
Rice: 30.4 lakh tonnes (target: 45.76 lakh tonnes)
Maize: 31.21 lakh tonnes (target: 45.76 lakh tonnes)
Jowar: 6.47 lakh tonnes (target: 15 lakh tonnes)
Ragi: 6.37 lakh tonnes (target: 14.65 lakh tonnes)