VISAKHAPATNAM:The adverse climatic conditions have raised doubts among the farmers to kick start the 2015 kharif works in the north coastal Andhra region. The farming community, during the past four kharif seasons, faced tough time and registered big losses. Even in July third week, majority areas in the region did not receive monsoon rains. The sowing works are yet to start in most of the areas in the districts. As there are no rains in the catchment areas of the main rivers of the region, Nagavali and the Vamsadhara farmers are a worried lot this year too.
According to kharif plans this year, paddy is expected to be cultivated in about four lakh hectares in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts. According to the traditional kharif calendar, the sowing has to be completed by June-end and the paddy nurseries are supposed to be ready by July first week. However, as the southwest monsoon rains are delayed, the current kharif works are yet to start in majority mandals. The lion share of kharif cultivation is still rainfed in the region and the farmers are staring at the sky for the rain God’s mercy.
“If the southwest monsoon rains are delayed, the crop will be ready by November/December, which is the cyclone season. During the past four seasons, the cyclones badly damaged the crops in the November cyclone season. Since 2011, the southwest monsoon rains have been delayed and the farmers are reluctant to cultivate paddy as they faced heavy losses during the past four seasons. If there are no rains in the next three weeks, the kharif crops will be badly affected,” said K Joginaidu, a farmer from Narasannapeta.
However, the agricultural officials are still optimistic and say that all is not over for kharif season and that there is still time till August-end. Srikakulam Agriculture joint director KCh Appala Swamy observed that during the past few years, the monsoon was delayed and the kharif works picked pace in August. He also admitted that the crop could face a cyclone threat
Since 2011, the cyclones Phylin, Neelam, Hudhud and unprecedented heavy rains damaged the kharif crop in the region and farmers faced huge losses. Last year, even the bankers were reluctant to extend farming loans and as a result the farmers borrowed from private money lenders for kharif crop cultivation, but the Hudhud cyclone played a spoilsport.
In Visakhapatnam district, the area under paddy cultivation is very limited and similar conditions prevail in Viziaganagaram district. The sowing was completed in just 20 per cent of the area in both the districts while about 40 per cent of the area was sown in Srikakulam district.
“The farmers and labourers are eagerly waiting to kick start the works. If the rains are delayed further, a large number of agricultural labourers would migrate to other states for livelihood,” an official of the District Water Management Authority said.