Farm land spread across 23 lakh hectares in Maharashtra faces the threat of resowing, thanks to the lack of rains. The state has seen very little rain since the last week of June, with districts in Marathwada and Western Vidarbha experiencing complete dry spell.
Minister for State for Agriculture Ram Shinde said the state government would provide financial help to farmers in the form of subsidies to tide over the current crisis.
After bountiful rains in June, the state has been reeling due to the absence of rains for the past few weeks. As per figures released by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the country as a whole has seen 6 per cent deficient rainfall. Most parts of Maharashtra have been experiencing 20-59 per cent deficiency in rainfall.
Districts in Marathwada have recorded 92 per cent deficiency in rains, while Madhya Maharashtra (districts of Ahmednagar, Pune, and Satara) had seen 64 per cent deficient rains. Similarly, Western Vidarbha has recorded 77 per cent less rains.
With the medium range forecast not promising any immediate relief for these areas, the threat of resowing has become more and more pronounced.
Stating that resowing would be required on 23 hectares, Shinde said the state government had prepared a contingency plan, which included advising farmers to go for medium and short-term crops.
Moong, urad, red gram, groundnuts and cotton are major crops that are likely to get destroyed due to the absence of rains.
Farmers would be advised to go for crops of soyabean, maize cotton, red grains and sunflower for resowing.
“The government has ensured availability of seed and fertilisers for around 34 lakh hectares to deal with the situation,” said Shinde.
In areas where sowing is yet to take place, farmers will also be advised to go for crops that are drought resilient.
One of the major issues the farmers would have to face when they go for resowing is the availability of finance. For farmers in Marathwada, the problem would be more acute as this would be the third consecutive year when they would have to go through a major agrarian crisis.
The state government, Shinde said, was thinking about special measures. “Special subsidies are being planned for farmers, which would be announced in the next eight days,” he said.
* Marathwada districts: 92%
* Districts of Ahmednagar, Pune, Satara: 64%
* Western Vidarbha: 77%