It has been 10 days since Rahul Jadhav (43) a farmer from the Ekdara village in Beed has completed the sowing of cotton in his five-acre parcel of land. The absence of rains for the past week or so, has worried Jadhav who fears that the dry spell will result in complete destruction of his crops. “We had received good rains during the month of June, but since the last two weeks we do not have enough rains. If the dry phase continues it would be calamitous,” he said.
After recording over 28 per cent excess rainfall in June, the start of July has seen rains mostly absent. With a long dry spell being predicted for the immediate future, the departments of agriculture and agrimeteorology have prepared a contingency plan in case of an emergency.
Barring Marathwada in Maharashtra and Rayalseema area in Andhra Pradesh, June has witnessed exceptionally good rainfall across the country.
Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh,Odisha, Rajasthan, Gujarat had received excess rainfall, while states like Kerala, parts of Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal has received normal rainfall.
Taking advantage of the good rainfalls sowing and transplanting activities of all major crops have been completed. Transplantation of rice from nurseries has been completed in coastal Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Konkan area of Maharashtra, Assam and other areas.
Also major sowing of pulses, soyabean, ragi, cotton, sunflower have been completed in most of the states. Absence of rains in the growing phase now poses a major threat to the survival of the crops. As of June end more than 50 per cent of the sowing activities in the country has been completed.
The medium range forecast of the agrimet department of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) talks of scanty to deficient rains in almost whole of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh till July 16.
While situation is supposed to improve for Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Goa, Kerala and parts of Madhya Pradesh, rains would continue to be deficient for portions of Karnataka Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Jharkhand, Assam and other north eastern states.
This dry spell, agriculture officers said, would be detrimental for rice, ragi and other crops. “Most of rice, ragi have been either transplanted or sowing has been done. Proper utilisation of water has to be done in order to ensure that the crops survive till the next cycle or rains,” said a senior officer of the agriculture department. In case the rainfall activities continue to be deficient, a contingency plan has been worked out to advise farmer on short or medium duration crops to tide over the water crisis post July 17. Dr Nabansu Chattopadhyay deputy director general of IMD said that the contingency plan has been worked out in consultation with the union and state agriculture departments. “Suitable advisories would be provided as and when necessary,” he said.