Flood fury affects sowing of kharif crops in 13 States

| | New Delhi
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Flood fury affects sowing of kharif crops in 13 States

Saturday, 17 August 2019 | Rajesh Kumar | New Delhi

Floods affecting 13 States have severely affected the cultivation of rice and pulses as the kharif crops could not be sown in a whopping 40.25 lakh hectares of farm land. To add to it, an estimated 6-7 lakh hectare crops have been damaged due to floods.  India has recorded 604.8 mm rainfall as against the normal of 595.7 mm so far. The data shows rice and pulses cultivation has been most hit in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.

As per data released by the Agriculture Ministry on Friday,  kharif crops sowing are 40.25 lakh hectares less this year due to flood and erratic rains across the country.  The data shows Rice and Pulses cultivation, however, has remained slow in major eastern states such West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.

As per data, overall, total kharif crops so far have been sown in around 926.13 lakh hectares this year as compared to 966.39 lakh hectares sown in the corresponding week last year.

The shortfall is the highest in rice.  The data shows rice cultivation is down by 36.85 lakh hectare so far.  Rice is planted at nearly 301.40 lakh hectare this year as compared to 338.25 lakh hectare last year.

Flood-hit West Bengal (a deficit of 8.86 lakh hectare), Odisha (4.66 lakh hectare) and Bihar (5.54 lakh hectare), Jharkhand (5.54 lakh hectare), Chhattisgarh (1.39 lakh hectare), Assam (1.31 lakh hectare), Tamil Nadu (1.06 lakh hectare), Maharashtra (1.66 lakh hectare0, Kerala (1.2 lakh hectare) and Sikkim (0.11 lakh hectare) are among the States that reported the maximum drop in rice planting. 

Besides, it is estimated that 6 to 7 lakh hectare crops have been damaged due to flood.  This number could go higher as assessment of crop damaged yet to be completed in several states. Similarly, kharif pulses (arhar, urad, moong) area stands at 115.55 lakh hectare against 120.94 lakh hectare last year. Gujarat and Telangana reported decline in kharif pulses sowing so far. The sugarcane cultivation is also declined this year so far.

 “The decline in sowing is mainly because of the delayed onset of the southwest monsoon and floods in several states. Though most crops are in the growing stage and it is difficult to predict the final harvest now ,’ said officials of agriculture ministry.  July, August and September is considered as main season for Kharif cultivation across the country.

According to the India Meteorological Department ( IMD), there was some respite for the rain-battered states-Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra for the second consecutive day,even as the toll climbed to 111 with more bodies being retrieved from landslide hit areas in Malappuram and Wayanad districts as the southwest monsoon turned week on Friday.  On the other hand, there is a threat of flood in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat as rivers are in spate.

The IMD has predicted moderate to heavy rainfall activity in several north Indian states including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh over the next two days due to low pressure area over Bay of Bengal.  “The situation is likely to continue till August 20,” the IMD said. In Rajasthan,  five people were killed in rain-related incidents in the past 24 hours and flood like situation created in Hadauti. A red alert warning was issued for Jodhpur, Nagaur and Pali for the next 24 hours. In Madhya Pradesh, the water level in 96 out of 251 big and medium reservoirs in Madhya Pradesh has crossed 90 per cent capacity mark following copious rains over the last few days.

The IMD said that the southwest monsoon are crucial for farm output and economic growth as the agricultural sector forms about 15 per cent of India’s $2.5 trillion economy. India received 45 per cent more rainfall than the 50-year average in the week to August 16. The rains from June to September are a lifeline for rural India, delivering some 70 per cent of the country’s rainfall, but they also cause death and destruction each year.

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