BARIPADA: Farming activities in the ongoing kharif season have been hit across Mayurbhanj district due to erratic rainfall. Even as farmers have started preparing their farmlands using modern equipment like power tillers, inadequate rainfall over the past one-and-a-half month has them worried.
In areas where there is no irrigation facility, the farmers are concerned whether their paddy saplings would survive as the land is still not wet enough.
The situation is similar in areas where water for irrigation is supplied by canals.
Most of the canals in the district have almost dried up. Ananta Singh a farmer of Laxmipur village under Shyamakhunta block said while he had completed 50 per cent of farming operations by mid-July last year, this year he has not even started transplantation of saplings due to water deficit.
District Emergency department sources said the 26 blocks of Mayurbhanj had received adequate rainfall in May but it was insufficient from June till mid-July.
The district had received 176.43 mm of rainfall against the normal average of 265 mm in June which is a deficit of at least 88.57 mm.
Until mid-July, just 90.35 mm rainfall has been received and the normal average is 337.03 mm.
Official sources said around 70 per cent farmers depend on rainfall in kharif season despite availability of irrigation facility. Deputy Director of Agriculture, Mayurbhanj Damodar Sethi said the district has been receiving less rainfall for the last two weeks.
He said if it does not rain within a week, the paddy saplings, which have already turned brown, will be damaged. Sethi said farming activities have gathered pace in some low-lying areas of the district.
The Agriculture department has set a target to cover 4,37,000 hectare of land across the district under kharif cultivation for various crops of which 1,58,891 hectare is irrigated and 2,78,109 hectare is rain-fed.
It has been planned to cultivate high-yielding variety and local paddy on around 2,92,000 hectare of land.