Hopes of good kharif cultivation among the farming community in the State have been receding in the absence of a good monsoon and the water levels in major reservoirs down to alarming levels.

Poor monsoon so far has affected cultivation across the State with sowing of different crops taking place in 18.32 lakh hectare against 22.13 lakh ha normal coverage for the period.

“Though coverage amounts to 83 per cent technically, the position of sown crops is not very encouraging due to the dry spell,” a senior official of the Agriculture Department stated.

Normal coverage of crops in kharif is 80.29 lakh ha.

In spite of the meteorological department’s efforts to keep up the spirit of farmers by assuring about revival of monsoon, the farming community, which is already put to hardships in mobilisation of inputs such as credit, seed and fertilizer, remains a worried lot due to the extended dry spell.

Deficit of rainfall

The deficit of rainfall is heavy in Rayalaseema (45 per cent) and North Telangana (35 per cent) districts. Anantapur district recorded 71 per cent shortage of rainfall.

As a result, sowing of crops has been less than half the normal coverage for the period in Kurnool (16 per cent), Anantapur (31 per cent), Prakasam (32 per cent), Visakhapatnam (37 per cent), East Godavari (43 per cent) and Nalgonda and Kadapa (46 per cent) districts. “Farmers in some areas, mostly in Telangana, have sown the seed with the hope that rains will occur in due course,” official sources said.

Severe shortage of water in reservoirs is making the farmers of Coastal Andhra, particularly those in Krishna and Godavari Deltas, struggle even to raise paddy nurseries. Paddy transplantation has taken place only in 73,901 ha against the normal coverage of 1,42,748 ha for the period. It is only 3 per cent of the normal coverage of 26.48 lakh ha for kharif season.

“Sowing of pulses and oilseeds will pick up in Rayalaseema and Telangana districts after a couple of good rains”, the official said, striking a hopeful note. Cotton, the major crop in Telangana, has been sown in 9,03,977 ha (127 per cent) so far against the 7,13,324 ha for the period. The crop is sown in about 15.67 lakh ha in kharif season.