Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Friday said considering the delay in the onset of monsoon, SMS advisories have been sent to farmers in the state, asking them not to hurry with kharif sowing and take up the activity as per the rain predictions.
He also said that despite less rains last year, the production of food grain was good due to the water conservation works undertaken in the last few years.
Fadnavis was talking to reporters here after chairing a state-level kharif review meeting, attended by IMD officials, divisional commissioners, collectors, ministers and officials from agriculture, co-operative, animal husbandry departments.
“Since the monsoon has got delayed, advisories have been sent out in the last three days, in which farmers have been advised not to hurry with sowing operations of cotton, soybean, paddy, sugarcane and take up the activity as per the rain predictions,” he said in a press conference.
He said five crore SMSs have been sent to farmers across the state as advisories.
“Seventy lakh farmers are getting updates and guidance through SMSs. We have already issued advisories about delayed sowing and the entire state machinery is ready for the season,” he said.
The production of cotton and soybean has been good despite less rains thanks to the water conservation works undertaken in the last few years, he said, adding that agriculture production investment has increased four-fold.
“Last year, we received 73 per cent rainfall, but we could still maintain good food grain productivity. In 2012-13, rainfall was 90 per cent and production 128.62 lakh metric tonnes. In 2014-15, rainfall was 70 per cent and production was 82.51 lakh metric tonnes. In 2018-19, rainfall was 73 per cent and production was 115 lakh metric tonnes,” the chief minister said.
The agriculture production is good and the credit goes to agricultural investment and reduction in dependency on rain, Fadnavis said.
“We have invested around Rs 1.50 lakh crore in agriculture and allied activities – Rs 34,000 crore on irrigation, Rs 8,900 crore on Jalyukt Shivar, Rs 19,000 crore on loan waiver, Rs 14,125 crore for assistance to farmers in natural calamities, Rs 16,778 crore on crop insurance,” he said.
Jalyukt Shivar works have been completed in around 22,590 villages, and 1,61,000 farm ponds and 1,72,916 wells have been constructed, he said.
“Drought mitigation is a challenge and the government is ensuring that by July end, water is made available in adequate quantity to the people. We have provided a WhatsApp number to each district so that complaints can be made on that number and corrective measures are immediately taken,” he said.
The chief minister said crop loan is also being made available.
Loan waiver is being considered for farmers who are outside the institutional credit system. Loan waiver is not an election issue for us, the chief minister said in response to a question.
So far, 65 lakh farmers in the state have enrolled themselves for PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, he said.
Fadnavis said sufficient seeds and fertilisers were available in the state.
According to him, 12,000 agriculture workshops are being organised all over the state to advise farmers regarding soil, moisture and sowing.