Krishi Mela called off due to severe drought in state

Water scarcity hits cultivation on 100-acre demo area at GKVK 

Krishi Mela called off due  to severe drought in state

 Krishi Mela, the annual event organised by the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru (UAS-B) at Gandhi Krishi Vignana Kendra (GKVK) has been called off this time because of extreme drought situation prevailing across the state. 

This is just the second time that the Mela has been put off since its first edition in 1960. The event is usually organised in October or November. According to top sources, the University took the decision to call of the event to avoid any confrontation with farmers in a situation where over 160 taluks have been declared as drought affected.

During Krishi Mela, farmers from across the state are given demonstrations on growing crops and irrigation methods. Farmers are also provided information on new scientific techniques. This year, with severe rainfall defecit, the UAS-B has not had enough water to even cultivate crops on small patches of land on its campus to display them to farmers.
 The sprawling campus of the UAS-B, which would otherwise have patches of lush green crops, is now a barren land.

Plots that gave a welcome sight with sunflowers in full bloom a year ago were lying vacant when DH visited the premises. “What would we possibly show the farmers? On a few plots in the varsity, even as we sowed seeds, they died at sapling stage due to severe shortage of water. On many other plots, the seeds were not even sowed,” said a senior professor of UAS-B.

Of the 1,650 acres on GKVK campus, 100 acres are set aside for demonstration. “The whole 100 acres are empty now. This year also, there is uncertainity about Krishi Mela as there are no standard prediction parameters for rain,” said the professor.

While in north Karnataka, crops are relatively better, south Karnataka is witnessing the worst-ever situation, according to experts. South Karnataka is predominantly dependent on borewell irrigation while north Karnataka depends on rains and water stored in reservoirs.

Krishi Mela, however, took place in Shivamogga, Raichur, Dharwad as they had better rainfall.

The four-day event here would see a footfall of over 20 lakh farmers, according to Dr Jagadeshwara, director (Extention), UAS-B. He said that this time, a one-day event was held which saw the participation of only those farmers who were given the annual awards.

“The varsity did not want to be embarrassed. Anticipating chaos, if the event was conducted, it was cancelled,” said a source. Last time, the event was cancelled in 2012 as excess rain had destroyed the crops.

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