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India - Drought cuts production of jowar in Pune

The drought conditions faced by the state have affected over 60 per cent of the Rabi crops this season, reports from the agriculture department have shown.

The agriculture department stated that only 37 per cent of sowing activity was done this Rabi season for Pune district, while Ahmednagar and Solapur districts falling under the division have reported less than 50 per cent of sowing activity.

“Majority of Ahmednagar, Solapur and parts of Pune district depend on the Rabi season for agriculture activities. The lesser rainfall recorded last year has severely affected the production of jowar, wheat, gram and groundnut,” said the divisional joint director of Pune division, Dilip Zende. A small area taken under plantation despite water scarcity has also become a cause of concern.

Zende added that over five lakh hectares of jowar plantation is done in the district, but the 1.5 lakh hectares which have been sowed this time will not achieve the desired growth and the crop would wither due to water scarcity.

“The prices of jowar, which usually hover around Rs 20-25 per kg, have almost doubled to Rs 40 a kilogram. The scarce produce may further impact the prices of the crop,” Zende added. “Almost 60 per cent of the total jowar production has been affected and the dried crop, unable to produce any grain, would be used as fodder for cattle.”

The official said that the production of green gram crop would get affected by about 50 per cent. “Maize crop due to stunted growth would affect the production of cattle fodder. Onion cultivation is also facing water shortages and is dependent on micro-irrigation for water needs, but would soon start drying up in many areas,” Zende said.

“Farmers are trying to retain the crops by various irrigation methods, farm ponds and even canals in some cases. However, many have already started applying for crop insurance schemes,” Zende told Mirror. Arun Kamble, divisional statistician, said that out of the registered plantations, 30 per cent would be lost due to water shortage.

“The prices of crops like jowar would increase while the cost of wheat may not get affected as it is produced in surplus in other states and can be easily procured,” he added.

Deputy joint director Dadaram Sapre said that government schemes are being promoted for farmers to make the most of their crops.

Source – https://punemirror.indiatimes.com

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