G.V. Prasada Sarma

Poor rainfall reduces the kharif yield

Output is 50 per cent less than that of last year

Plain areas suffer heavy damage

VISAKHAPATNAM: Paddy farmers in the district are hit hard by drought. Poor rainfall has drastically reduced the kharif paddy yield. The output is 50 per cent less than the last year’s production. Even sugarcane has faced a lower yield. That the entire district, barring the urban area, has been declared drought-hit also reflects the poor situation. But rainfall recorded only 19 per cent deficit with 592 mm against the normal of 712 mm. Rain in September and October was hardly of any use to paddy as the season was over by then.

Farmers who had reaped a good harvest in the last kharif getting an average of 22 bags per acre are now reduced to an unenviable plight with yields falling as low as six bags. The maximum is 10 bags or 11 in very few cases. The poor southwest monsoon hit the crop right from the sowing stage. Compared to 95,000 ha in which crop was sown and harvested in last kharif, paddy was sown in only 65,000 ha this year. Of that in 15,000 ha the crop was completely lost. The maximum of eight to ten bags of yield was only in the agency area, according to Agriculture Department officials. The plain areas suffered heavy damage. Those fortunate to get some yield will get more price in view of the market conditions. But that will hardly compensate for the poor output.

Sugarcane

Even sugarcane, the second largest crop after paddy in the district, suffered with the yield only being 70 per cent of the normal. Against 22 to 25 tonnes of yield per acre, only 15 to 16 tonnes has been realised. The yield has been affected owing to lack of rain in the vegetative growth stage, says an official.