Maharashtra's rabi sowing till mid-November trails by 54%
Maharashtra’s water woes have taken a toll on the winter-sown crop, with planting until mid-November trailing last year’s levels by 54%. Farm department officials also expect the summer-sown crop output to shrink because of drought-like conditions in many parts of the state.
The drinking water situation is also worsening as the number of tankers supplying potable water to villages in drought-prone areas is up eight times from the same period last year.
As on November 15,rabi crops have been sown on 13.05 lakh hectares, compared with the 28.35 lakh hectare area sown during the comparable period last year. The largest area in the rabi season is sown under jowar, the stalks of which are also used as cattle-feed. Decline in the area under jowar and maize cultivation will also lead to scarcity of fodder for cattle.
Across the country, the progressive sowing of coarse grains such as jowar, bajra, and maize has been lower by 45%, while sowing of pulses too has been lagging behind by 18% over the previous year. The cumulative sowing of all rabi crops has been trailing by 36%.
Separately, wholesale and ex-mill prices of moong, urad, chana and tur pulses have jumped 15% during past two months. Price of jowar, the main rabi crop grown primarily in Maharashtra and Karnataka, has seen the biggest jump of about Rs 10/kg, an increase of about 25% to 35% depending upon the quality, in the past two months.
“The rise in prices of pulses has been due to the erratic rainfall and drought in the growing areas, and as a result of various policy decisions taken by the government, such as import restrictions and promotion of exports,” said Nitin Kalantry, a pulses processor from Maharashtra. Reservoir levels in the state are currently about 19% lower than the previous year. Water storage in Maharashtra's reservoirs on Wednesday was 53.91%, compared to 73.32% during the same period last year.
The state government has been supplying drinking water to villages with 715 tankers, as against 89 used in the same period the previous year. Latur town from the Marathwada region, which had to be supplied with drinking water by train during the drought of 2016, has been now getting water once in 10 days. It used to get drinking water once in 20 to 25 days during the droughts of 2016.
By BOA Bureau