Andhra Pradesh

Anantapur ryots prefer to delay sowing

Once bitten twice shy, a majority of farmers who practice monocropping of groundnut in Anantapur district have not begun sowing operations this season despite good rains in the past two months and abundant availability of subsidised seeds. On the other hand, several people in rural areas are eagerly waiting for the sowing operations to begin so that some employment gets generated at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in livelihood loss.

Early rains in 2020 (137% excess in April and 67% in June) had prompted them to sow groundnut from the end of May and early June, leading to severe loss in crop yield due to 147% excess rainfall during July last year. Farmers do not wish to get caught in the heavy rains by August when groundnut comes to flowering and pod formation stage in the 95 to 120-day crop period of the popular K 6 variety.

This year there have been good rains since April with 33.4 mm recorded against a normal of 12.8mm and during May against a normal of 39.6 mm the district recorded 79.5 mm with pre-monsoon showers. With southwest monsoon hitting the State on June 3, an average of 89.7 mm rain was recorded in 10 days against a normal of 31.7 mm, a deviation of 183.0% (excess) so far.

Rising groundnut area

For the past four decades, the groundnut sown area has been increasing, and for the current year, the Agriculture Department expects 6,70,000 hectares to be sown during kharif and has kept 2,97,000 quintals of seed ready. “The offtake of seed has been very slow and no sowing operations have begun so far in the district,” says Joint Director of Agriculture Y. Ramakrishna.

As of June 10 (Thursday), the Agriculture Department had distributed 1.81 lakh quintals of groundnut seeds compared to 1.78 lakh quintals to 2.07 lakh farmers by May 17 last year due to excess demand. The State government is likely to extend the last date for distribution of seeds from June 17 to July 1 as Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University scientists at the Rekulakunta Agriculture Research Station in the district have advised groundnut sowing in the first week of July.

Crop diversification

Meanwhile, fertilizer stocks are being positioned at the RBKs. Against an estimated 1.47 lakh tonnes for the entire year, 60,000 tonnes were available in the district. Another major campaign being launched by the agriculture department is the diversification of crops by sowing red gram, green gram, and millets. Ryots are also being discouraged from sowing paddy, and if their soils do not support other crops, they are being encouraged to go for preferred varieties so that the government can procure the produce in case they fail to sell in the open market.


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Printable version | Aug 3, 2021 7:22:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/anantapur-ryots-prefer-to-delay-sowing/article34816238.ece

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