Other States

Odisha struggling to overcome excess rain, drought at same time

Another problem is infestation of brown plant hopper pest

Paradoxical though it may seem, Odisha is struggling to overcome the challenge of both excess rain and drought at the same time in the ongoing crop season.

Paddy crops in several rain-fed pockets of western Odisha districts like Sambalpur, Sundargarh, Balangir, Kalahandi, Jharsuguda and Bargarh have suffered moisture-stress due to deficient rain. Since September 11, most of these places have not received rain.

Apprehending that there is little chance of salvaging any yield, farmers have let their cattle devour paddy crops in their respective fields in the Kutchinda area of Sambalpur.

Coastal Odisha, which had received heavy rain during second week of October under the impact of severe cyclonic storm ‘Titli’, is staring at a deluge in the face of heavy rain forecast by the India Meteorological Department.

According to Bhubaneswar Meteorological Centre, a low pressure area, which is brewing over west central and adjoining northwest Bay of Bengal, would cause heavy rain at isolated places in districts like Ganjam, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Jajpur, Bhadrak and Balasore – majority are coastal districts – over the next 72 hours.

Special Relief Commissioner on Sunday issued advisory warning for farmers that heavy rain during flowering stage of paddy crop could lead to moisture-surplus condition leading to pest attacks. Farmers have been advised to discharge water from their land immediately after the rain and sprinkle salt-mixed water on their crops in order to prevent pest attack.

Sambalpur district administration said paddy in 36,000 hectares suffered more than 33% moisture-stress. “Around 1.07 lakh ha of land in Sambalpur has been covered with paddy. But as per our eye estimate, farmers will not be able to get the desired yield in 36,000 ha of land,” said Khagendra Jena, Deputy Director of Agriculture, Sambalpur.

Similarly, deficient rainfall has hit farmers in Balangir district. Paddy in 12,551 hectares in Bongomunda, Muribahal, Tureikela, Kantabanji and parts of Deogaon blocks has been affected.

At a time when excess and deficient rain has emerged as big concerns for farmers in the coastal and western Odisha districts, paddy in many blocks of Balangir and Kalahandi is struggling to tackle infestation of brown plant hopper pest. On Saturday evening, Anil Hota of Sahajbahal village in Balangir district set his two acres of crop on fire after he failed to check the spread of brown plant hoppers.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 11:41:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/odisha-struggling-to-overcome-excess-rain-drought-at-same-time/article25355424.ece

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