July 20, 2018 11:14:46 am
While coastal Saurashtra is reeling under floods following extremely heavy rain, some parts of northern Saurashtra are still waiting for a good spell of rain. Officers said that many farmers in these areas are yet to start sowing, and delayed arrival of rain is likely to force them to change their crop choices. Coastal districts like Gir Somnath, Junagadh and Amreli Bhavnagar in southern Gujarat were flooded following torrential rain through this week. Rajkot, Porbandar, parts of Jamnagar, Devbhoomi Dwarka and Morbi districts also recorded good rain.
However, Surendranagar and parts of Morbi are still waiting for rain. Farmers are yet to start sowing in Dhranagadhra, Lakhtar and Dasada talukas. Similarly, sowing has not happened in Maliya and Halvad talukas of Morbi, Jamnagar, Lalpur, Dhrol and Jodiya talukas of Jamnagar and Dwarka in Devbhoomi Dwarka district. According to state government data, sowing was done in only 1.31 lakh hectare (lh) out of 6 lakh hectares in Surendranagar. Similarly, farmers in Jamnagar had sown only 1.08 lh against long-term average of 3.5 lh. In Devbhoomi Dwarka, only 2,900 hectares witnessed sowing as of July 16.
“A few talukas of Surendranagar have not received sufficient rainfall for sowing. Farmers in Dhranagadhra have done some sowing using groundwater. Luckily it rained this week. The area sown is likely to go up after an update,” District Agriculture Officer of Surendrangar Hasmukh Vadi told The Indian Express.
Vadi said that 1.31 lh sowing had been done as of July 12. The government updates sowing data every Friday. He said delayed rain was likely to make farmers change cropping patterns. “June 15 to July 1 is considered the ideal sowing period. So sowing has been delayed by a couple of weeks. Therefore, we believe farmers will prefer cotton varieties which have shorter duration, or short-duration crops like sesame seed,” he said.
Usually, Surendranagar registers the highest cultivation and production of cotton in the state. Out of 1.32 lh sown this season, cotton accounts for 1.05 lh. Fodder comes second with 11,600 ha and groundnut third with 11,000 ha.
The delayed rain has already meant bringing more area under groundnut. Out of 1.08 lh in Jamnagar, groundnut accounts for 46,500 ha, which is marginally low compared to 59,700 ha for cotton. “However, sowing has been done only in Jamjodpur and Kalavad talukas at the beginning of this week. But the rain will force farmers to change their crop preferences. We expect they will sow more cotton and vegetables and groundnut acreage may go down,” said Himanshu Usadia, District Agriculture Officer of Jamnagar.
As of July 18, the state as a whole had received 45.24 per cent of its long-term average rainfall. However, the rain was concentrated in south Gujarat and coastal Saurashtra. Of the 251 talukas in the state, 18 have received less than two inches of rain while 47 talukas have recorded between 2-5 inches. As a result, sowing has been done in only 45.2 per cent of normal sowing area of the state.
Taken together, 11 districts of Saurashtra have received 57 per cent rain. But Surendranagar has got only 16 per cent of its average, followed by Morbi and Devbhoomi Dwarka with 25 per cent and 37 per cent.
On the other hand, Gir Somnath has already received 129 per cent of its average rainfall, followed by Junagadh (79 per cent), Amreli (65), Botad (57), Bhavanagar (54). Interestingly, these districts in southern Saurashtra recorded a deficit last year while districts like Surendranagar, Botad, Rajkot, Mobri in northern region witnessed excess rainfall.
Saurashtra accounts for majority of cotton and groundnut production in state. But as against three-year average of 26.02 lh, cotton has been sown only in 17.22 lh (66 per cent). Last year, the cotton acreage at this time of the year was 24.26 lh. Similarly, groundnut has been sown in 8.77 lh as against 14.98 lh compared to last year and 58 per cent of three-year average of 15.12 lh.
“While delayed sowing may not affect yield, it may affect winter crop sowing,” said Vadi.
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