A slower-than-normal progress of the south-west monsoon has prompted Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to issue an advisory to farmers asking them to defer sowing plans for kharif crops till the end of June.
The chief minister’s advisory came following a report from the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) on the monsoon’s progress that was discussed during the cabinet meeting. While pointing out that monsoon was now active across the state, the IMD’s report has pointed out that the rainfall recorded in several districts so far was not yet adequate for sowing kharif crops.
The onset of monsoon in the state was delayed by 10 days. According to IMD’s report the average rainfall recorded across the state between June 1 and June 21 was 65.2 mm, which came to just about 41 per cent of the normal rainfall witnessed by the state in the month of June.
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Records show that for almost 50 per cent areas in Maharashtra — 17 out of the 36 districts — the rainfall received so far was below 50 per cent of the normal. In fact, in nine of these, the June rains have been lesser than 25 per cent of the normal average. These include drought-hit belts in Marathwada’s Aurangabad, Vidharbha’s Nagpur, Bhandara, and Chandrapur, and North Maharashtra’s Nashik, Dhule, Nandurbar, and Jalgaon. The ninth district is Palghar.
The CM’s advisory cautioned farmers that “haste in sowing kharif crops” may spark “the risk of a farmer needed to resow” at a later date. A positive note for the state comes in IMD’s forecast for more rains across the state in the coming seven days. Three drought spells in four years have meant that the agriculture production had slipped into the negative.
The south-west monsoon is critical to the kharif crop season as nearly 72 per cent of the Maharashtra’s farmland lacks assured irrigation.