Insufficient rains force farmers to switch from paddy to fodder

Insufficient rains in several parts of Gujarat have forced farmers to look at alternate crops instead of the usual kharif season crops.

Written by Kamran Sulaimani | Vadodara | Published:July 11, 2009 1:31 am

Insufficient rains in several parts of Gujarat have forced farmers to look at alternate crops instead of the usual kharif season crops.

Sowing of paddy,which is a major crop in Anand and Kheda districts in central Gujarat,has not taken place; and farmers are instead,sowing fodder. According to experts,this will have a negative impact on the yield of paddy.

The sowing area has also reduced from 25 lakh hectares last year to just one third. Gujarat is rain deficit by 75 per cent this season. The percentage is even higher in Ahmedabad,Anand,Kheda,Mehsana and Patan. About 70 villages in Mehmedabad taluka have not sowed paddy this year.

“This time,farmers from Mehmedabad taluka have not sown paddy due to the delayed rains. Instead they have started sowing fodder just because they didn’t want their land to remain barren,” said Lalbhai Patel,a farmer from Mehmedabad taluka in Kheda district,who has not sown paddy this year.

According to Anand Agriculture University,no sowing has taken place in north,south and central Gujarat till now.

“Since the sowing has been delayed,the crop yield will come down compared to last two years,” said M C Varshneya,Vice-Chancellor,Anand Agriculture University (AAU). He added: “The conditions are adverse compared to the last two years. The rains received in these areas are less than one per cent compared to last two years.”

Usually,farmers complete the entire procedure of sowing paddy by July 15. This time,however,they have not been able to do so. “None of the farmers in Mehmedabad taluka have sown paddy this year. Nobody wants to take such a risk this kharif season,” said Lalbhai Patel.

The state Agriculture Department too wants farmers to take up alternate crops since the delay in rain has hampered the sowing of kharif crops.

The state government has,nevertheless,come up with a contingency plan to help farmers sow different varieties of paddy in a stipulated time.

P N Roy Choudhary,Principal Secretary,Agriculture said: “There is no need to assume that there will be no rains till July 15. We are hopeful that there will be sufficient rainfall. We have also prepared a contingency plan to provide farmers guidance on what crops they can sow this season. We have also suggested what varieties of crops they can sow even now.”

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