While the statewide monsoon deficit shrunk to three per cent following rain over the weekend in various parts, large parts of Marathwada and Vidarbha continue to face a shortfall from the average precipitation for this time of the year.
Hingoli district in Marathwada, the central Maharashtra region that has suffered a serious drought in recent months, is witnessing a 60 per cent deficit monsoon as of Monday.
According to data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the eight districts of Marathwada are facing an average 34 per cent deficit. Nearby regions facing a similar deficit include Telangana (34 per cent deficit), Rayalaseema (33 per cent deficit) and coastal Andhra Pradesh (37 per cent deficit). Overall monsoon deficit for the country is currently 19 per cent.
“Sowing in Marathwada and Vidarbha are lagging,” said state Agriculture Commissioner Suhas Diwase, conceding that the situation is worrisome in some parts.
Sowing has now been undertaken on 43 per cent of average area under sowing for kharif crops, an improvement since the past week.
The government had issued an advisory to farmers in the last week of May to delay sowing on account of the delayed onset of the monsoon.
At the end of June, of the 1,40,68,742 hectares average kharif sowing area, sowing was undertaken on only 7,35,241 hectare, or about 5.23 per cent of the total. By the end of June 2018, sowing was complete on 39,83,991 hectares.
Diwase said the worst affected crops would include urad and moong, and to some extent soyabean. With the monsoon further delayed in large parts, farmers are expected to select short duration crops.
“We will fine tune our advisory on Friday if needed,” Diwase added.
Across the country, the deficient monsoon has until now led to a nearly 27 per cent drop in sowing of kharif crops.
All eight districts in Marathwada currently have a rainfall deficit, with six of the eight districts suffering a deficit of over 20 per cent. Only Aurangabad (-8 per cent) and Jalna (-14 per cent) have received close to normal average rainfall until now.
The Vidarbha region is facing an overall deficit of 22 per cent, with Yavatmal, Washim and Wardha, respectively, receiving 47 per cent, 37 per cent and 35 per cent less than average rain. Parts of north Maharashtra, which also bore the brunt of the 2018 drought, has received deficient rain too, with Nandurbar and Jalgaon, respectively, receiving 21 per cent and 13 per cent less than average rain.
Solapur in western Maharashtra, parts of which are severely drought-prone, has received 51 per cent less than average rain as of July 8.