BENGALURU: After farmers suffered crop loss from drought over the past three years, they are now worried that they may face more losses from floods. Despite the good news of filled reservoirs, heavy downpour has caught farmers by surprise resulting in damage to crops in both Malnad region and in a few districts in the plains of Karnataka. However, farmers in irrigated areas are also hopeful that the embargo on cultivation of water-intensive crops will be lifted during the year.
Speaking to The New India Express, agriculture expert B C Nanjappa said that the unexpected rainfall in south-interior Karnataka region has hit maize and other summer crops cultivated from April-May. “Except paddy, almost all other crops have been affected as farmers were not prepared for such heavy rainfall,” he said.Plantation crops have been worst hit in Kodagu, Chikkamagaluru and Shivamogga districts. Coffee beans will fall off the plants if rainfall continues at this pace, from a condition called ‘Wet Foot’. Pepper and other cash crops have also been affected, he said. Some farmers who were waiting for ginger prices to rise during the first few weeks of July to harvest and sell have also been caught off guard by the torrential downpour.
Kodihalli Chandrashekar, president of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, said that though rainfall has been widespread in Southern parts of the State, distribution of rainfall was skewed and it has not been adequate in Northern districts. “If rainfall does not fall on time in districts such as Gadag and Haveri and rainfed regions of Bagalkot and Vijayapura, farmers will suffer crop loss,” he said.
To a question, he said that following good rainfall it was likely that the State would lift the embargo against cultivation of water-intensive crops in irrigated regions. However, Nanjappa suspected that Cauvery Water Management Authority could intervene and impose restrictions, so that water stored could be distributed as per SC 0rder.