Deficit rainfall hits kharif, 33 per cent fall in coverage area

Normal monsoon critical for farmers of Odisha, where over 50 pc of agricultural land is rainfed

Published: 10th July 2018 05:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th July 2018 05:23 AM   |  A+A-

Representational image (File | EPS)

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR:  Witherratic rainfall casting a shadow on the prospects of kharif crops in some districts, the area under cultivation of paddy, pulses, oil seeds and cotton is about 33 per cent less than last year.According to sources, the area covered under paddy cultivation is 7.82 lakh hectares against 11.64 lakh hectares during the corresponding period last year. The State Government has planned paddy cultivation in an area of 35 lakh hectares during kharif season. The rainfall in June and July was 25 per cent and 46 per cent less than normal.

Though sowing of non-paddy crops maize, ragi, pulses, oil seeds, cotton and vegetables has picked up, the State is lagging behind normal area sown by this time last year. The area covered under kharif crops till July 7 was 14.2 lakh hectares against 20.11 lakh hectares in 2017, said a report of the Agriculture Department.Report received from districts said 6.85 lakh hectares are covered under high yielding variety paddy crops against 10.26 lakh hectares last year.

Kharif activities started early with broadcasting of paddy and raising of nurseries as the State received excess rainfall during April and May. Delay in arrival of monsoon, which became weak subsequently, hit the kharif operation, official sources said.With monsoon doing a vanishing act in several parts of the State, condition of paddy crops has started worsening. “Cracks have started appearing in paddy fields of Ganjam district. If there is no rainfall in the next day or two, it will be difficult save the crops,” said Ganesh Nayak, a farmer of Ganjam district.

A normal monsoon is critical for the farmers of the State where over 50 per cent of agricultural land is rainfed. Planting of crops normally begins with the onset of monsoon in June and harvest begins in October.As the farmers are encouraged to adopt System of Rice Intensification (SRI) methodology aimed at increasing the yield of rice, water management is the key cultural practice after transplantation of seedlings. While paddy nurseries are under threat, lack of water has made it impossible to prepare field for transplantation, the sources added.

Claiming that overall crop situation is normal, the source said crop damage has not been reported from any district so far.Deficit rainfall has also affected sowing of pulses like mung, biri, cowpea and arhar and oil seeds like groundnut, till and castor.As per the crop weather watch report, the State received 160.8 mm of rain in June against a normal rainfall of 216.5 mm. The rainfall in the first week of July was 35 mm against normal fall of 65.8 per cent.

Groundnut purchase  deadline extended 

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare has extended the deadline for procurement of groundnut by Government-appointed agencies at MSP rate. The deadline has been moved to July 19 from the earlier date of July 4, said Union Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh. The decision to extend the deadline was in response to a request by Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan. “I have received several requests from the farmers of Puri district for extension of the procurement process beyond the July 4 deadline.

Around 2,000 farmers of Kanas and Krushna Prasad blocks of Puri district have groundnut stock worth `50 lakh,” Pradhan said in letter to Singh on Monday. Since Odisha State Cooperative Marketing Federation (Markfed) is the designated agency for procurement of groundnut under price support scheme, Pradhan requested Singh to direct National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (Nafed) to lift the stock. Markfed is also agency for procurement of pulses to ensure MSP to the farmers.

The State had set a target to procure 13,480 tonne of groundnut pods (shelled groundnut) at an MSP of `4,250 per quintal. Apart from Puri, the other major focus districts for procurement of groundnut include Mayurbhanj, Jajpur, Kalahandi, Ganjam, Balasore and Dhenkanal.

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