Against the expected Kharif sowing of over 151 lakh hectares, sowing is completed only on 13 lakh hectares. This time, last season’s sowing was completed on 23 lakh hectares. Monsoon continues to evade many parts of the State and farmers are worried.

However, the State Agriculture Minister Dada Bhuse who was expected to hold review meetings and find a way out to help farmers is not in Maharashtra. He is in Guwahati with rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde in an effort to topple the State government.  

‘No scarcity of seeds and fertilisers’

According to State Agriculture Department Secretary Eknath Dawale the State has not received satisfactory monsoon showers and whatever rainfall the State has received is in a “scattered” manner. Speaking in a review meeting on Friday he said that there was no scarcity of seeds and fertilisers and the Department was gearing up to organise agricultural extension and technology dissemination sessions from today. 

The State officials are worried that in many places farmers will have to go for another round of sowing where sowing is completed but rains are missing resulting in failure of early germination. In this case, there would be a need for more seeds and farmers are certain to demand concessions as already they have put in money to buy seeds. 

The Agriculture Minister leads the administration team to monitor Kharif sowing and ensure that maximum land is under cultivation. Shiv Sena leader and Minister Dada Bhuse is, however, missing from the scene. Amidst the Kharif season, the Minister has revolted against the Chief Minister and is “not reachable” to government officials and farmers. 

‘Kharif is a lifeline for farmers’ 

The State government expects higher Kharif cultivation compared with the previous year. As per the State government estimates, more than 151 lakh hectares of land should be under Kharif cultivation this season. The State has an average of 141.98 lakh hectares of land under Kharif cultivation (except sugarcane). Last year by October, sowing was completed on about 142.83 lakh hectares. 

“Kharif is a lifeline for farmers. If the Kharif season fails, farmers land in big trouble. Amidst the ongoing political tug-of-war, the Kharif season operations should not be affected. The Minister was supposed to take action against the fake seed companies which have spread the network in Marathwada and Vidarbha regions and are selling bogus seeds. But, now don’t know who is going to focus on this,” said VG Kamble, a farmer from Latur.   

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who is facing a tough challenge to save his government, held a meeting of government officials including the Agriculture Department on Friday evening. 

“Politics and monsoon are always uncertain. The games in politics will continue but it should not halt governance,” said Thackeray who ordered that any crucial decision regarding Kharif sowing or any other matter must be directly brought to him in absence of the Ministers who have joined the rebel leader Eknath Shinde.i