Sunday, July 3, 2011

Poor rains panic Vidarbha farmers-TIMES OF INDIA

Poor rains panic Vidarbha farmers-TIMES OF INDIA

Ramu Bhagwat, TNN | Jul 3, 2011, 01.08am IST
NAGPUR: Poor rainfall even after onset of July has started sending panic signals among farming community all over Vidarbha. The situation is worst in the cotton-soyabean belt of western Vidarbha's Amravati division, where at least in three districts practically no sowing operation could be started because of poor monsoon activity.

Even as top agriculture officials of Nagpur and Amravati division are hopeful that rains in the next couple of days could save the situation, farmers in some areas have already started counting their losses.

Except for Bhandara district which recorded a good rainfall of 28% above average, the other 10 districts of Vidarbha are reeling under below average rains till date for the monsoon period accounted from June 1.

Buldhana fares the worst with 61% deficient rains for the season followed by Washim (-37%) and Nagpur district (-33%) according to rainfall figures proffered by the regional Met office here. "But there is hope. A low pressure system is developing over the Bay of Bengal which could bring rains in the next couple of days to the region," a weather bureau official told ToI on Saturday.

"Farmers in Akola, Amravati and Buldhana are waiting for regular rains to arrive before they can start the sowing operation. Till now these districts have not got more than few drizzles which were no good enough to get going with sowing," said Suresh Ambulgekar, divisional joint director of agriculture of Amravati division.

In Yavatmal and Washim districts where there were some good wet days initially, farmers hurried up and completed sowing in up to 80% of cultivable land," the official added. "Now the situation is getting a bit worrisome. If it does not rain well, like last year when good monsoon arrived only in July, farmers will become desperate," said Ambulgekar.

"There has not been much progress in farming operations in Nagpur division," said J C Bhutada, joint director of agriculture for Nagpur division covering Nagpur, Wardha and paddy belt of Bhandara, Gondia, Chandrapur and Gadchiroli.

Nuresries have been prepared but paddy transplantation. District superintendent Uday Patil said about 35% of sowing work in 1.40 lakh hectares of the total over 5 lakh hectares was completed in the district. He lamented that farmers do no take up water conservation work in MREGS schemes. "And now that rains are scarce, they are looking for help. What can the government do if rains fail," he asked.

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