Nagesh Prabhu

BANGALORE: With monsoon becoming weak and drought looming large over Karnataka, the government has extended the weather-based crop insurance scheme to five more districts, covering 12 crops this kharif season.

Being implemented on a pilot basis for the second consecutive year, the scheme aims at providing insurance to the cultivator against adverse weather such as deficit and excessive rainfall, frost, heat (temperature) and relative humidity, which affect the crops. The scheme was implemented in 10 districts, covering eight crops last kharif season. Officials of the Directorate of Agriculture told The Hindu that the scheme covered drought-prone Bangalore Rural, Ramangaram, Chickballapur, Hassan, Bidar, Bijapur, Bellary, Chitradurga, Gadag, Gulbarga, Haveri, Shimoga, Kolar, Koppal, and Tumkur districts. Rainfall was scanty or deficient in 124 taluks and a majority of these taluks were in these districts. The percentage of area where sowing had been completed in most of these districts was less than 10.

July 15 is the last date for farmers who had borrowed crop loans to submit applications to avail themselves of the benefits of the scheme. About three lakh farmers will benefit from the scheme. It is being implemented at the hobli-level because of availability of weather data for 25 years.