Drought takes its toll on farm produce in Bagalkot district

Diseases, inadequate rains and fall in prices add to farmers woes

Once a hub of horticulture, Bagalkot district has suffered a set back due to drought this year.

Farmers are facing losses to the tune of crores of rupees, due to the conditions hostile to the cultivation of horticultural produce.

The Horticulture department presents a gloomy picture, putting the estimated loss at Rs 33 crore.

There is a drastic reduction in the quality and quantity of pomegranate, turmeric, chikoo, guava, grapes and banana, the prime crops cultivated in the district.

A rare disease coupled with scanty rainfall has affected both quality and quantity of pomegranate crops. The loss has forced the farmers to bid adieu to pomegranate cultivation.

Fall in turmeric price

The fall in the price of turmeric has only pushed the farmers to the brink. They have decided to not to harvest the standing crop.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Deputy Director of the Horticulture Department B S Diddimani said pomegranates cultivated on 1,412 hectares of land in Kaladagi and Kerur regions, are of low quality. Besides, the flowers have withered due to the drought, causing an estimated loss of Rs 10 crore, he said.

Nipped in the bud

The vineyards cultivated on 1,600 hectares in several regions, including Savalagi hobli of the district have dried, causing an estimated loss of Rs 14.43 crore.

Banana cultivation on 1,593 hectares of land had also been affected, causing an estimated loss of Rs 7.15 crore.  Neither had the coconut trees been spared. Cultivated on 520 hectares of land in Badami and Bilagi, the trees are withering due lack of rain. The loss is said to be Rs 1.36 crore.

The sowing of onion and turmeric was not at the expected level. Onions were sowed on only 2,500 hectares of irrigated land against the target of 14,000 acres in Badami, Hungund and Bagalkot taluks

There are hardly any farming activities in the turmeric-growing regions of Terdal and Mahalingapur. And where it has already been harvested, the yield is very low, the official said. A variety of vegetables cultivated on a total of 1,200 acres of land in the district have also cut a sorry figure. There are possibilities of vegetables prices shooting up in the near future, the deputy director said.

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