Other crops such as millets, maize, vegetables, banana and sugarcane have a mixture of rainfed as well as assured farming through irrigation

With the winter, summer showers and South-West Monsoon having disappointed Coimbatore district with scant and deficient rainfall, now the district pins its hopes on the remaining 25 days of the North-East Monsoon.

Winter rainfall during the months of January and February this year also had been the lowest of 2.9 mm. Winter rainfall in Coimbatore had been good in the last 10 years except in 2002 when it was just 2 mm, while it was just 0.8 mm in 2009 and it was nil in 2010.

Similarly, summer rainfall had also been very poor for the district with just 89.9 mm, also considered the lowest in the last 10 years except for 46 mm in 2002 and 85.2 mm in 2010. All the other years, it had witnessed good rainfall bringing some benefit ahead of South-West Monsoon. As far as South-West Monsoon was concerned, 2012 recorded only 68.1 per cent, the lowest ever in the last 10 years. Poor rainfall was witnessed in 2002, when it was only 98.4 mm and 77 mm in 2003.

But, what comes as a solace for the district is the 208.1 mm of rainfall received by the district in the month of October, the first month of the North-East Monsoon. This was definitely higher than the normal or average rainfall of 189 mm, say Revenue Department sources.

With 25 more days to go, it would be too premature to conclude whether North-East Monsoon would bring benefits or would lead to disappointment.

When it came to the total rainfall received in mm over a period of one year, 2012, so far, seems to be the lowest with just 368.9 mm posting a – 46 per cent deficient rainfall. The highest rainfall in a year was during 2005, when the district recorded 941 mm and the lowest had been in 2002 when it was just 434.3 mm. Otherwise, the total rainfall in the district over an year had been in the range of 500 mm to 700-odd mm.

Though, the district had gone through a scanty and deficient rainfall all through, as far as agriculture was concerned, it was a “so far so good scenario”, as a majority of the farm activities were based on assured farming, i.e., irrigation with only a marginal area coming under rainfed cultivation.

The district accounted for 1.80 lakh hectares under cultivation with crops such as paddy, millet, maize, sugarcane, cotton, pulses and vegetables. Of the 1.80 lakh hectares, more than 80 lakh hectares accounted for standing crops such as coconuts under assured irrigation. But, crop coverage in the district had been quite normal, till date, officials pointed out.

Paddy was also under assured irrigation. Other crops such as millets, maize, vegetables, banana and sugarcane have a mixture of rainfed as well as assured farming through irrigation. Only those dependent on rain would face a setback.

Farmers irrigating about 30,000 to 35,000 hectares who are dependant on rain are likely to be either partially or fully hit.

Even that would largely depend on the rain during the remaining days before the monsoon exits.

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