With monsoon in a lull phase, farmers have sowed only 2 per cent of the total crop area so far. And with only 16 per cent water left in the state’s major dams, aagriculture is the most hit sector.
According to the Department of Agriculture of Maharashtra, sowing activities have declined by 2 per cent compared to last year. “However, we are not yet worried. We are expecting good monsoon even though it is delayed. So far most of the agricultural activities are taking place in Kolhapur, Konkan and North Maharashtra region that produces paddy and cotton,” said Bijay Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary, (agriculture).
According the to Water Resource Department, reservoirs in Maharashtra have only 16 per cent of water stock left. “The Nagpur and Amarawati region is worst affected with only 10 per cent and 13 per cent water left in the dams respectively. While in Pune it is 15 per cent , 18 per cent in Marathwada, 33 per cent in Konkan and 18 per cent in Nasik region. Vidharbha is most worst affected region,” stated in the data.
Bijay Kumar said that farmers have been asked not to hurry. “Let there be the satisfactory rainfall, only then they can start sowing and planting activities. Meanwhile, we have been in touch with the seed manufacturing companies in terms of shortages. However, there is no need to press the panic button yet,” Bijay Kumar added.
Sources in the agriculture department told DNA that if the monsoon gets delayed for one more week, then “farmers will not able to sow the green gram crops”. “This is a very short period crop that has to be sown in June. If it gets delayed it would not be able to sustain the insect attack later. This may impact pulses productions in Maharashtra. In June, most of the pulses, particularly green grams are sowed. Last year, we had surplus production of pulses,” said an official requested anonymity.
While Bijay Kumar admitted the tricky situations for the green gram sowing, but he is confident that shortage of green grams can be compensated by other pulses.
Nanasaheb Patil, president of Shetkari Kruti Samitit said that erratic and delayed monsoons every year is affecting the agricultural sector. “There is no consistency in rainfall. This year, the situation is scary. The government should not take it lightly. It should be ready with a contingency plan. Otherwise, the number of farmer’s suicides in Maharashtra will increase. The irrigation supply has also gone down. Most of the wells and tube wells have also dried up,” Patil said.
For Sanjay Jadhav, a farmer from Jalgaon who has resorted to drip irrigation to water 20 acres of cotton is not better off. “The ground water level has gone down drastically. We have invested heavily. Only a good monsoon can help us out,” Jadhav said.