VIJAYAWADA: As the onset of monsoon got delayed by almost three weeks this year, the sowing activity in the State remained passive even as close to four weeks of Kharif-2019 elapsed. According to the Agriculture department, sowing has been done in less than one lakh hectares of the targeted 42 lakh hectares across the 13 districts, which is about half of the area sown in the corresponding period in the last four years.
The weekly report released (on June 19) said that preparatory works for sowing, in anticipation of monsoon showers, were underway in most of the districts dependent on rain. While the area sown till June 19 was just about 90,000 hectares this year, it was 1.73 lakh hectares in 2018, 1.72 lakh hectares in 2017, 2.71 lakh hectares in 2016, and 2.8 lakh hectares in 2015.
YSRC farmers’ wing president MVS Nagi Reddy observed that sowing would pick up once the rains begin. “So far, only those who have borewell facility began sowing. Some of the farmers in Godavari delta started transplantation. Other than that, there is no activity,” he observed.
When asked if there was a need for a contingency plan, he said, “These are early trends. If the dry spell continues till mid-July or so, then a contingency is needed based on the type of crops.”
Except Visakhapatnam, Chittoor and Nellore districts, all the others have an average of less than five per cent of area sown as against the normal season. The officials from agriculture department observed that sowing in June is usually passive.
“Even though Kharif starts on June 1, farmers don’t immediately sow. Sowing only picks up in July. However, it is true that delayed monsoon slowed down the activity this year. We have already started seed distribution as the showers began and awareness among farmers is also being conducted,” a senior official noted. As more showers are expected to hit the State this week, the officials expressed confidence that the sowing activity will gain momentum.