Uncertainty looms over kharif crops prospects in Gujarat, where erratic monsoon has left the State with 58 per cent deficient rainfall as on August 25.
The State has covered over 80 lakh hectares under kharif sowing, which is about 60,000 hectares lower than last year’s 80.64 lakh hectares.
Gujarat has received total rainfall of 350 mm, which is 58 per cent less than the long period average of 840 mm. The rainfall during August has been one of the lowest at 53 mm, while July received 177 mm and June 120 mm.
Kutch and North Gujarat regions have reported 68 rainfall deficit, while the rainfall deficit in Saurashtra and Central-East Gujarat is 63 per cent and 62 per cent, respectively. Rain deficiency in South Gujarat has 49 per cent rainfall deficit as on Wednesday.
“The wait has got longer than expected. If it still doesn’t rain in the next one week, we are in for a big crop loss,” said Kishan Chaudhary, a cotton grower from Mehsana with about 20 acres under the crop. Gujarat is the largest grower of the fibre crop. So far this year, the cotton area is about 12 per cent lower at 22.50 lakh hectares against 25.53 lakh hectares in a normal year.
Also at stake is groundnut — the second major kharif crop for the State with about 19.09 lakh hectares under cultivation. This is about 13 per cent more than the 3-year average of 16.95 lakh hectares.
Gujarat has witnessed sharp jump in the soyabean cultivation at 2.23 lakh hectares, which is about 74 per cent more than 3-year average of about 1.28 lakh hectares. Also, the pulses crops driven by moong and urad have seen 14 per cent jump over normal sowing.
Farmer sources revealed that given the uncertain monsoon conditions, farmers facing crop damage due to shortage of water may turn to castor.
As per the reservoir storage data from the government, of the 206 dams, only 48 have storageof more than 50 per cent.