The extended spell of heavy rain in Saurashtra has caused widespread damage to crops such as millet and sesame, while also threatening to affect the yield of cotton and groundnut, officials said on Sunday even as heavy rain continued to pound many parts of the region for the second consecutive day on Sunday.
“The prolonged spell of rain and overcast conditions have caused extensive damage to millet and sesame seeds crops. Both the crops are either ready to harvest or in the late maturing stage, when clear sky and dry weather are required. But the continuous wet weather has led to millet seeds sprouting in the pods… Also, pods of sesame seeds have started turning black and falling off,” SR Kosambi, district agriculture officer (DAO) of Bhavnagar, told The Indian Express on Sunday.
After paddy and maize, millet is the third largest grain crop this Kharif season. Farmers have sown this crop in total 1.82 lakh hectare (lh) which is 113 per cent of last three year’s average. Of the 1.82 lh, Saurashtra accounts for 29,500 hectare. Similarly, sesame is sown in 1.46 lh of which Saurashtra accounts for 27,900 ha.
Officers said that groundnut and cotton, the two major cash crops of Saurashtra, were also facing the risk. “Groundnut crop is at the stage of pegging and pod formation and can withstand wet weather to some extent. But persistent wet weather can lead to rotting of pods. Cottong is at the flowering stage and continuous rainfall can cause buds to fall off… These two crops need a few sunny days,” said HV Gosai, DAO of Jamnagar.
Farmers of the state have sown groundnut in a record 20.63 lh, 134 per cent of average, of which Saurashtra accounts for 16.58 per cent. Cotton acreage this year stands at 22.76 lh. which is only 85.14 lh of average. But 11 districts of Saurashtra account for 15.35 lh of that.
It has been raining almost continuously for over two weeks in Saurashtra. Almost all the districts of the region have registered more than 100 per cent rainfall.
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