Even as monsoon showers hit some parts of the State, the overall weak start to monsoon has delayed kharif sowing in Maharashtra. Farmers in the State still await good monsoon showers to start sowing operations as water levels in dams have depleted across the State.

As per the IMD data, Maharashtra has received 54.3 mm of actual rainfall from June 1 to June 20 against the normal rainfall of 119.3 mm, a deficit of 54 per cent. The State Agriculture Department has already warned farmers no to go for sowing until 75 to 100 mm rainfall is received.    

Lower storage level

Central Water Commission data showed that the storage level of the 29 reservoirs monitored in Maharashtra is 4.80 billion cubic metres (BCM) or 26 per cent of the live capacity at full reservoir level against 5.58 BCM (30 per cent) during the year-ago period ending June 16. The storage level in 13 reservoirs is lower than the levels seen last year.

According to State officials, not even one per cent of sowing has been completed across the State owing to scanty rainfall. The State government expected higher kharif cultivation compared with the previous year. According to the State government estimates, more than 151 lakh hectares of land should be under kharif cultivation this season. The State has an average 141.98 lakh hectares of land under kharif cultivation (except sugarcane). Last year by October, sowing was completed on about 142.83 lakh hectares. 

However, in this season farmers still await rainfall. In the areas where sowing has already taken place, farmers are worried about having to go for a second round of sowing if rains continue to evade the State.