Rainfall deficit leaves Andhra Pradesh farmers in dire straits

Continuous dry spell leads to withering of Kharif crops in 49.99K hectares in Prakasam
Image used for representational purpose. (File photo)
Image used for representational purpose. (File photo)

ONGOLE: The Ongole Agriculture Department has identified a concerning issue regarding the crops cultivated during the early days of the Kharif season. According to the Agriculture Joint Director, (JD-A) S Srinivasa Rao, around 49.28 K hectares of crops are at risk of being damaged if there isn’t sufficient rainfall within a week. These crops are currently in a dehydrated state and are at risk of being severely damaged.

Talking to TNIE, the Agriculture Joint Director stated that he has reported the situation to higher officials and is awaiting further instructions on how to proceed. Srinivasa Rao maintained that the district has been reeling under dry conditions for the past over a month. If the dry spell continues, the extent of the damage could be even greater, resulting in increased losses for the farmers.

He emphasised the importance of sending crop status reports to the higher authorities. “We have collected the data related to the crops getting dehydrated. Various crops across the district are likely to die in the coming days if there is no sufficient rainfall in a week. We are waiting for the response of the higher authorities and will act as per their directions.” Srinivasa Rao, JD-A added.   

The normal Kharif season cultivation in the district is around  5,36,442 acres. In 2022 (up to September 30), the farmers cultivated around 3,52,995 acres and in the present Kharif season, the cultivation was done on nearly 3.55 lakh acres (up to September 30) ie, 66.6% of the normal Kharif cultivation of the district.

Coming to the Rabi season statistics, the normal cultivation in the district is reported to be around 1,62,039 hectares and in the present year, district farmers have cultivated nearly 12,702 hectares ie, 7.8% of the total normal cultivation area.

Due to the prevailing drought conditions, the district farmers are still waiting to start cultivation of Rabi crops, including Bengal gram, tobacco, black gram and Paddy, after a sufficient rain spell. Normally, in the Rabi season, Bengal gram is cultivated in 58,000 hectares, tobacco in 27,345 hectares, black gram in 25 K hectares and paddy is cultivated in around 24.4 K hectares area. Maize and Jowar crops are also cultivated in some areas as alternative crops.

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