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Rabi production likely to dip 40%

Yet another season of dejection stares at the farmers here as they prepare to harvest the Rabi crop,which has been badly hit by drought.

Written by Hemlata Verma | Shimla |
April 21, 2010 1:22:19 am

Third consecutive season of crop loss for farmers; agriculture dept prepares relief plan

Yet another season of dejection stares at the farmers here as they prepare to harvest the Rabi crop,which has been badly hit by drought. According to estimates of the agriculture department,the production is likely to dip between 35 and 40 per cent as compared to what was expected.

The state has only 20 per cent of the irrigated cultivable land,but in areas like Una,Paonta and Solan,where irrigation is available to a large chunk of farmers,the crop loss is expected to be between 15 and 20 per cent.

Since this is set to be the third consecutive season of crop loss for the farmers of the state,of which majority are small and marginal farmers,the agriculture department has set in motion a relief plan. “We have sent a proposal and sought Rs 10 crore grant from the government to give subsidy on seeds for the next Kharif season (2010). The financial condition of farmers is going to be worse this time,as the Kharif-2009 and Rabi 2008-09 were also damaged due to the failure of monsoon and drought. Last year,we had received Rs 16 crore for subsidy on seeds for the Rabi season,” said Agriculture Director J C Rana.

According to the Indian meteorological department (IMD),the rainfall in the month of October and December 2009 and January and March 2010 was 70 to 90 per cent deficit.

“In the months that were crucial for grain formation,the rains were less and the grain shrivelled,due to which its will remain small. The Rabi crop is more sensitive to heat and increase in temperature during the month of March — by five to seven degrees above the normal range — leads to excessive damage. The rain in the future weeks is not likely to help the crop. Instead,it will hamper the harvesting,” said Rana.

Looking at the abnormal behaviour of weather in the last three years,the agriculture department is now encouraging the farmers to go in for at least one polyhouse and adopt economical means of latest irrigation technology. “The possibility of extending irrigation in Himachal in future is only up to 40 per cent. The of the rest area will still be rainfed,” said Rana.

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