Double whammy for farmers in Kolar district

Double whammy for farmers in Kolar district

Drought, depleting water level spell doom for agrarian community

Groundnut, one of the major crops in the district is withering away. With the failure of a major oil seed, the farmers are in the throngs of a financial crisis. They can neither harvest the crop as the soil has dried up completely. The farmers in this drought-prone area are dependent on rains for agriculture. The dwindling yield has thus put a question mark on the very sustenance of farmers.

Dwindled yield
Each groundnut plant yields approximately 40 nuts. But this year, the number stands at just 10, and half of them unripe. The farmers can neither preserve the crop for seed purposes due to scanty rains. The crop of two-and-a-half month duration, sowed in July is yet to be harvested.

But, one can get only the plants but not the nuts if attempted to harvest. Meanwhile, the rain is playing truant. One cannot even depend on borewells due to erratic power supply. It was targeted to grow groundnut in 13,000 hectare of land in the khariff season. However, the crop was sown in 7,814 hectare only. The target for oil seeds was 14,985 hectare while they were sowed in 8,801 hectare only. And, groundnut constitutes major portion of the area sown.

Now, it is targeted to grow groundnut in 35 hectare during rabi season. But now even a single step is taken in this direction. “It costs at least Rs 5,000 to sow groundnut in one hectare of land. I have incurred Rs 10,000 for sowing the crop in two-and-a-half acre of land. I would have had a bumper harvest had it rained on time. Scanty rains have destroyed the crop,” rued R N Chandrashekhar, a farmer of Nenamanahalli in the taluk.
“The groundwater has hit the nadir and hence one cannot depend on borewells. I had grown mulberry following organic farming. Now I can’t gain anything by growing groundnut. I am now planning to irrigate my crops with the assistance of my neighbouring land owner. I can’t  trust rain anymore,” he said.

Neither the groundwater nor the rains are favourable to farmers in this drought-prone district. The farmers opine that a irrigation project is the only alternative to tide over the crisis.