Tony Griffiths, a sheep and barley farmer, is facing hard times. He's sold 1500 of his 3000 sheep and plans to sell 700 more in 2019 to curb the growing loss he’s facing, already at $150,000 this year. "Rainfall’s usually 400-450mm, it’s 180mm this year," he said. "We don’t have enough feed for our sheep. This year’s the worst on record since 1966 and no one’s doing anything about it."
More than 60% of Maharashtra’s farmers have been hit by drought this year, with around 86 lakh hectares of land and 82 lakh farmers in 151 tehsils and 20 revenue circles being affected, the state government told the Assembly on Thursday. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the state has already chalked out a mitigation plan of Rs 7,522 crore, for which a memorandum has been sent to the Centre asking for assistance.
An estimated 500,000 livestock deaths and over 30,000 people were left vulnerable to the impacts of the drought between 2014 and 2017. The droughts are closely related to the ongoing climate change in the country. In the last decade, available reports have suggested that climate change has led to about 2.5 trillion U.S. dollars in disaster losses in developing countries resulting in the number of people affected by natural disasters doubling from 102 million in 2015 to 204 million in 2017.
While drought policy raises many complex emotional, political and policy issues, it can be helpful to think of it as an insurance problem: how can we best help farmers manage climate risk? Drought insurance has been a long-standing goal and it’s easy to understand why. If viable, drought insurance markets could help farmers manage climate risk without the costs and potential side effects of government drought support.
As many as nine districts of Odisha have been declared drought-affected by the state government with an overall crop loss of 33 per cent. The districts are Bargarh, Balangir, Deogarh, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Sambalpur and Sundargarh. The crop loss has been sustained due to moisture stress, official sources said.
Last Friday Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that Australia is setting up a billion-dollar fund to "future proof" the country against droughts. Eastern Australia has been hit by a crippling drought –in some areas for several years- that has forced graziers to hand-feed, sell or even shoot their stock.
This year's celeriac yield is significantly lower than other years, says Luc Berden. Berden has been exclusively growing celeriac for many years now. He supplies his own product year-round. "We have never experienced a year like this. In the south-east of the Netherlands, no more significant rain has fallen since the beginning of June. Soil that is not being irrigated is bone-dry."
One of the hottest summers in Central European history, sorely devoid of rainfall, made this year very difficult for farmers. This year’s drought in central and northern Europe is the worst in recent memory for the region. Prolonged droughts affect agriculture, biodiversity, forestry, energy production, tourism, and of course, the general availability of water resources.
The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has lent its support to a series of proposals designed to improve the uptake of farm income and crop insurance for primary producers in Australia. Rob Whelan, Chief Executive Officer of the ICA, said that access to better data, removing unfair taxes, and introducing incentives would be key factors in improving the resilience of Australian farmers during droughts or following extreme weather events such as floods or cyclones.
Drought is expected to cut eastern Australia’s crop production this year to less than half the average over the past 20 years, with New South Wales to be worst hit, the country’s agricultural commodities forecaster said. While some regions are facing the worst conditions in memory, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics said the drought-hit areas are smaller than in previous droughts.
Widespread drought had pushed thousands of Queensland farmers to the brink of survival, with nearly half suffering a dive in their income to below 50 per cent of average years as the six-year drought persists. The October survey by Queensland farm group Agforce revealed 80 per cent of farmers had pruned their sheep and cattle numbers by at least 25 per cent, with many destocking their properties and trying to exist without any income other than government emergency farm household welfare payments.
While Odisha may have registered a healthy 12.9 percent surplus rainfall this monsoon season, drought threat looms large over a significant portion of western Odisha. Bargarh, which is also known as the ‘Rice bowl of Odisha,’ along with areas of Sambalpur, Nuapada and Sundergarh have been badly affected by deficit rainfall this monsoon season.
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