Though copious rains in the last few weeks helped Andhra Pradesh achieve averages in rainfall, the distribution of rainfall is not uniform.
Of the 1,128 mandals (revenue units), about 350 mandals received scant rainfall. While 460 mandals received normal rainfall, 313 mandals registered more than the normal rainfall.
Paddy continues to be a laggard with sowings covering only 26-50 per cent of the normal area. The rice-bowl districts of East Godavari and Krishna too showed a less-than-normal coverage in sowings. Overall, paddy was planted in 9.40 lakh hectares. But by now, the farmers should have covered 11.20 lakh ha.
Cotton, maize and soyabean are the saving grace. Cotton has been sown in 20 lakh ha against the as-on-date figure of 13.80 lakh ha, showing a growth of 44 per cent. On the other hand, maize has been sown in 4.78 lakh ha (4.50 lakh ha).
Soya, though grown in a small area, witnessed 50 per cent growth in the State. Sowings have gone up to 1.94 lakh ha against the average of 1.28 lakh ha.
Officials of the Agriculture Ministry have said that the other important crops such as sugarcane, chillies, groundnut, castor, sunflower, onion and turmeric fared far below the averages.
Chillies are sown in 0.30 lakh (0.43), sugarcane 1.71 lakh ha (1.99 lakh ha) and turmeric 44,000 lakh ha (62,000 lakh ha). Sunflower and sesamum are the worst hit, with sowings of just 10,000 ha (50,000 ha) and 21,000 (57,000 ha).
With signs of drought creeping in about a third of the mandals, the Government has asked the officials to prepare the farmers for alternative crops in case they don’t get water by August 15. Revenue Minister N. Raghuveera Reddy and Agriculture Minister Kanna Lakshminarayana held a video-conference with District Collectors on Thursday to discuss the situation and alternative measures.
“Prepare an action plan keeping village as a unit,” Raghuveera Reddy told the Collectors.