Ubru Hati of Batipathar village in Padampur block had ploughed his land on Akshya Trutiya on April 24. He looked forward to a bumper crop. However, he is yet to sow seeds as the village has not received rains till now.
Unlike Ubru, Pramod Barik of Barlabahal village in Barpali block went ahead with sowing of seeds. But the seeds did not sprout due to lack of rains.
Ubru and Pramod are not the only farmers affected. Erratic and deficient monsoon has cast a shadow on the crop prospects in all the western Odisha districts.
Till July 31, while Sambalpur received 423.2-mm rainfall against the normal 429.5 mm, Balangir recorded 274.09 mm rain against the normal 360.5 mm.
In Nuapada district, rainfall has been recorded at 289.48 mm against the normal of 341.1 mm while in Sonepur, only 325.83-mm rain was received against the normal 399.6 mm. Worse, Padampur sub-division got no rain and the farmers are now staring at another drought.
The worst affected are Belpada block in Balangir, Boden block in Nuapada district and Binka block in Sonepur district. Belpada block received a meagre 53.50-mm rainfall during July against the normal rainfall of 360.5 mm, Boden block got just 51.6 mm against the normal rainfall of 347.1 mm.
Similarly, only 256 mm rainfall has been recorded in Binka block against the normal 399.6 mm. Deogarh district received 280.93-mm rain in July against normal 447.47 mm.
Agriculture officials said the present incessant rains are not going to be of much help to the farmers. “The districts need proper distribution of rainfall. Hence, continuous downpour that is being witnessed now will be of little help,” an official said.
Under these circumstances, although the agriculture officials have been advising farmers to diversify to pulses and vegetable cultivation, the latter are reluctant as most of them are traditional paddy cultivators.