The 41 per cent deficit in the southwest monsoon has resulted in delayed planting of several kharif crops such as paddy, cotton, sugarcane, oilseeds, pulses and coarse cereals.

The State has received 90.1 mm of rain against the normal rainfall of 151.9 mm from June 1 to 24. Bangalore Urban district received only 11.2 mm of rainfall against the normal 62.8 mm.

The rainfall deficit is 68 per cent in south interior Karnataka, 52 per cent in north interior Karnataka, 40 per cent in the Malnad region and 27 per cent in the coastal districts, according to V.S. Prakash, Director, Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC).

The acreage of all kharif crops has declined owing to deficient rainfall. Only 7.79 lakh hectares has been sown against the targeted 74.77 lakh hectares. In 2011, as on June 24, the coverage was 18 lakh hectares, Agriculture Department officials told The Hindu.

The sluggish progress of the monsoon has affected the acreage under cereals. The paddy, a major foodgrain crop, has been planted on 0.4 lakh hectares, maize on 0.48 lah hectares, jowar on 0.39 lakh hectares and bajra on 0.02 lakh hectares. The coverage of cereals was 1.34 lakh hectares.

The area under pulses (1.42 lakh hectares) such as toor, horse gram, black gram, green gram and avare was also below normal due to scanty rainfall in north Karnataka districts. The actual coverage of oilseeds was 0.68 lakh hectares as on June 24, 2012 (2.04 lakh hectares during the same period last year).

Commercial crops — cotton, sugarcane and tobacco — have been planted on 0.9 lakh, 2.43 lakh and 0.56 lakh hectares, respectively. The coverage of these crops was 3.89 lakh hectares (5.28 lakh hectares last year).

Many sugarcane farmers have switched over to alternate crops as they did not receive timely payment from the sugar mills.

Seeds

The department has distributed 1.97 lakh quintals of seeds to 6.49 lakh farmers in the State. The total available seed stock was 9.5 lakh quintals. The State has maintained 6.5 lakh tonnes of fertilizers. The total nutrients required for the season is 24.45 lakh tonnes.

Except Bidar, rainfall was deficit in 15 districts and scanty in 14 districts from the first week of June to June 23. Bidar had received 127.1 mm of rainfall against normal 99.3 mm. In view of deficient rainfall, Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda has instructed officials to continue drought relief measures such as re-opening goshalas (cattle camps), and resuming supply of drinking water through tankers wherever required. He has also instructed officials to make necessary preparations for cloud seeding in case the State does not get adequate rain in the next few days.

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