Scanty rainfall coupled with long dry spells plays havoc
A large deficit in rainfall coupled with long dry spells have played havoc with farmers in Ranga Reddy district this year as the kharif as well as the rabi crop have been badly-affected. Rain-fed crops like cotton, maize, paddy and red gram have borne the brunt of unfavourable seasonal conditions.
Farmers who cultivated rain-fed crops are in deep distress as their investments have gone down the drain after the crops dried due to moisture stress in the soil. “Dry weather and erratic power supply have affected the standing crops in over 1.25 lakh acres, about one-third of the normal cultivation of 3.95 lakh acres in the district, and the yields have been affected up to 80 per cent”, an official of the Agriculture Department said acknowledging the severity of the situation. Maize and cotton crops have been damaged in over an extent of 85 per cent and 60 per cent respectively. Besides, paddy was damaged to the extent of 25 per cent and and red-gram in about 15 per cent. Except for a few showers here and there, there have been no rains since August last week.
Long stretches of either wilting or withered crops are a standing testimony to the situation all over the district. Several farmers expressed doubts over getting even 2-3 quintals of cotton an acre this season against the normal yield of 10-12 quintals. Fall in price to Rs.3,500 to Rs.3,800 a quintal from about Rs.5,000 in the last season has also proved a dampener for them.
“I cultivated cotton in three acres by investing Rs.10,000 an acre. The entire crop is stymied due to deficit rainfall throughout the season. It is impossible now to recover even the investment as only one picking is possible against the normal of three to four pickings”, B. Panduranga Reddy of Manmarri village said while picking cotton in his field.
Unable to get yield worth any mention, most of the maize farmers have already uprooted the crop for use as cattle fodder, a farmer Eedaiah of Bodampahad village said. The condition of rabi crops too is worrisome, he said.