THE WEATHER saw a sudden change in parts of Saurashtra and Kutch regions and unseasonal showers were reported from Kutch, Jamnagar and Devbhoomi Dwarka district, leading to apprehensions that they may damage some Rabi crops.
Showers were reported in eastern part of Kutch district, Kalyanpur and Jamjodhpur talukas of Jamnagar district and Dwarka, Kalyanpur and Khambhaliya talukas of Devbhumi Dwarka district. Anjar taluka in Kutch recorded 24 millimetres of rain while at other places, scattered unseasonal showers were reported. Skies remained overcast in Morbi, Surendranagar and Rajkot districts also but there were no reports of any rainfall.
However, agriculture officers said that the unseasonal rainshowers can damage Rabi crops like jeera (cumin seeds) and chana (chickpeas) whose acreage is already down in Saurashtra and Kutch due to drought. “Jeera is a very weather-sensitive crop and the showers can damage it,” said Kirit Patel, in-charge district agriculture officer of Devbhoomi Dwarka.
While Devbhumi Dwarka district has recorded jeera sowing in 1,100 hectare, it is 2,900 hectare in neighbouring Jamnagar. Kutch has recorded jeera acreage of 43,800 hectare this winter. “Majority of jeera acreage this winter has been reported from Khambhaliya taluka and it has rained today in this taluka,” Patel added.
Experts also said that the rain showers can lead to falling of flowers in the chana crop, resulting in less than average yield.
However, Yashodhar Shihora, district agriculture officer of Kutch, said that they will study impact of the unseasonal rain showers on Rabi crops. “Jeera and mustard, the two major crops of the district, are at vegetation stage as of now and therefore may be able to withstand the unseasonal rain. Unseasonal showers can be damaging for crops at stages of flowering or maturity. But we will go on field and study if the showers have caused any damage to crops.” Shihora told The Indian Express.
Incidentally, Kutch is facing one of the worst droughts in recent years. However, thanks to availability of groundwater in some areas and canal water through Narmada project, farmers have sown winter crops in 1.2 lakh hectares. Jeera accounts for the largest share 43,800, followed by fodder (36,200 hectare) and wheat (22,200 hectare). Mustard acreage in the district stands at 8,300 hectare.