“I have kept one and a half acres ready for sowing ragi. However, there is neither rain nor humidity conducive for sprouting of the seeds,” T.M. Venkatesh, a farmer in Toorandahalli under Jannaghatta gram panchayat limits in Kolar taluk, said.
The story of Munivenkatappa, another farmer at Doddurkarupanahalli in Bangarpet taluk, is no different. Though he sowed ragi on one acre, his hopes were dashed when the skies did not open up in the region as expected.
‘It is unprecedented’
Mr. Venkatesh says that the district is reeling under unprecedented drought. “We never experienced such a situation in the recent past,” he told The Hindu.
The information provided by officials of the Agriculture Department correlates the fear expressed by farmers.
Though it rained on July 10, July 11 and in the last weekend, it is insufficient to take up farming on a large scale as there had not been continuous rain.
Farmers have completed ploughing and are now hoping that there will be a long spell of rain so that they can take up sowing.
Chikkanna, Joint Director of Agriculture, said that sowing had been completed only on 16,400 hectares against the targeted 1,00,200 ha.
He said in all probability the area under groundnut cultivation was likely to come down. Red gram and paddy were the other crops which would be affected besides ragi, he added. However, he said farmers should wait for rain till August-end for sowing of ragi. The Agriculture Department has set the target at 63,000 ha for ragi cultivation.
Mr. Chikkanna also pointed out that there were not enough takers for seeds despite its availability with the Agriculture Department and other agencies.
Karnataka Prantha Raitha Sangha district unit president P.R. Suryanarayana has urged the government to provide relief to farmers. “The livestock is also suffering due to non-availability of fodder and water,” he said. “This is the first time that the people waited till the end of the monsoon for rain to come,” he said. While several parts of the State are receiving copious rain, the people of bayaluseeme (central Karnataka) are undergoing difficulties owing to lack of rain, Mr. Suryanarayana added.