Stagnant growth of crops during the Kharif season has left farmers in a distress.
Farmers are at loss due to poor cultivation of crops during the Kharif season. The rainfall deficit and increase in mercury levels has impacted the agricultural sector across Karnataka. Farmers said earlier they used to obtain around 8-10 quintals of ragi from one acre of land which has now reduced to 2-3 quintals.
“There was very little rainfall this year. I do not have a borewell facility in my farm due to which I couldn’t irrigate my crops and the yield was very low. This season I’ve suffered a loss of Rs.30,000. It is very difficult to survive like this as I do not have any other duties to perform besides farming,” said Muni Hanumaya, a rain dependent farmer from Kumbalgodu.
Dry spells have created drought-like conditions across the state. Earlier in a tweet, chief minister Siddaramiah has requested a compensation of Rs 4,680 crore from the center for drought relief. He also explained that the actual loss suffered by the state is over Rs 30,000 plus.
“The condition of farmers is very bad. We haven’t received any help from the state till now. Also they are releasing water from the KRS dam to Tamil Nadu despite the low level of water in the reservoir. Government just assures us but does not take any action. Farmers are not getting basic amenities such as chemical fertilizers and seeds at lower prices. We have to buy it with our own money at higher prices. If this condition prevails farmers are left with no choice. They will sell their assets and mortgage their houses, and ultimately commit suicides,” said Dr Mahaboob Pasha, state president of Karunada Raith Sangh.
There are a few insurance schemes that provide relief only to the enrolled farmers whose numbers are less. According to the agricultural department only 21-22 per cent of the sown area is insured under such schemes. “We have received 19, 40,000 applications from farmers this year under PM Fasal Bima Yojna. In 2022 the number was 20, 97,000 during the Kharif Season.”
“For the prevailing situation there is a provision for add on coverage known as preventive sowing risk and mid season adversity. The state and center survey team will initiate the compensation process soon. Most farmers are enrolled in risky areas but the target is to enroll more farmers under such schemes. To spread awareness we run Fasal Bima Pathshala campaigns at block levels” said Shobha H.B., Joint Director of the Agricultural Department.
According to the Indian Meteorological Department the cumulative rainfall deficit was around 21 cent this year. However the state does not meet the criteria to be declared as drought hit according to the Drought Manual of 2016 (updated in 2020). The expert said the only way to combat such situations is to adopt advanced farming techniques.
“For an area to be declared drought hit there is a pattern of rainfall received in the previous years to determine the condition. Farmers can adopt methods such as mulching, multi cropping, drip irrigation and water use efficiency methods to retain moisture in the soil. They can dig pits in the low lying areas of farmland to collect water during light showers. Farmers can escape such situations by incorporating crop varieties that are drought resistant,” said Dr S Raghavendra, Professor in the Agricultural Department of GKVK College.
Prolonged dry spells have resulted in poor cultivation during the Kharif season. Farmers are hoping for a better Rabi season upon the arrival of the north-east monsoon.