Erratic rainfall in May and June had delayed kharif cultivation in the district. While the farmers are done with the cultivation process, deficit rainfall in September and lack of water in the irrigation canals are giving them sleepless nights.
According to District Agriculture Office (DAO), of the targeted 1.64 lakh hectares, kharif cultivation could be taken up in 1.58 lakh hectares after much delay, courtesy untimely rainfall.
The dry spell in August and September has, however, affected the cultivated lands.
Paddy plants need sufficient water for their growth but the district has received 40 per cent less rainfall than the normal, said Umakanta Sahu, District Agriculture Officer.
The District Emergency Office sources said the district recorded 139-mm rainfall in September against an average of 261 mm.
Adding to their woes is inadequate water for irrigation.
Concerned over water shortage in Hadgarha reservoir, the Executive Engineer, Salandi Irrigation, Jyotirmaya Ratha said, the reservoir has 16,500 hectometre against the usual 45,500.
The situation may aggravate if there is no rain in the upper catchment, Ratha added.
Bhandaripokhari, Dhamnghar and Chandabali are the worst affected areas.
The dry spell has farmers worried, as the lift irrigation points here are either defunct or have no power supply, said Chandrasekhar Nayak, leader of District Farmers’ Union.