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AS MAHARASHTRA reported more than 90 per cent sowing, moisture stress is now threatening the survival of standing crops in various parts of the state. As per early estimates, around 2 lakh hectares of standing crops in western Marathwada and parts of Vidharbha have been affected, and in absence of immediate rains, farmers in these areas may face crop loss.
According to experts, June has been a good month for the state, with farmers speeding up sowing. However, absence of rains towards the end of June, mostly in Marathwada and Vidharbha regions, had harmed the crops during the crucial growth phase.
Around 1 lakh hectares of farm land had reportedly gone for re-sowing (dubaar perni). Cotton, soyabean and maize growers were hit the most. The state government had provided tur and jowar seeds for re-sowing. Rains picked up momentum towards mid-July, bringing relief to the farmers. However, no rainfall, again, at the end of July brought forth another agrarian crisis in the state. Over 2 lakh hectares of farm land is now facing medium to severe moisture crisis, which has put a question on their survival.
At present, districts of Parbhani, Aurangabad, Hingoli, Amravati, Yavatmal, Chandrapur, among others, are facing severe water crisis. Parbhani, by far, seems to be the worst hit ,with the district reporting 45 per cent rainfall deficiency. Barring the districts of Beed and Osmanadbad, all other districts of Marathwada have reported more than 30 per cent rainfall deficiency.
Similarly, in Vidharbha, barring the districts of Buldhana, Washim and Wardha, all have serious moisture stress. Kishore Tiwari, chairman of the Farm Distress Committee of the state government, said they are keeping a close watch on the situation. “If rains remain absent in August, the growers may face serious crop loss,” he said.
He added that they were gearing up for possible relief and rehabilitation packages for farmers, who might face crop loss.