To nip nasty shocks, govt readies agri crisis plan for 560 districts

Written by Sandip Das | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 18 2013, 08:48am hrs
In a bid to deal with deficient or excessive monsoon rains adversely impacting agricultural crops, the government has prepared a specific agriculture contingency plan for more than 400 districts over last three years.

The district plan prepared by agriculture ministry in collaboration with state agricultural universities looks at a district's agriculture and allied sectors, including fisheries, animal husbandry and dairy farming.

Each district plan has basic agricultural statistics, physical characteristics of the district (soil mapping) and details of the crops and methods of cultivation to be adopted in case of exigencies. The agriculture ministry is presently preparing plans for 160 more districts during the current year. The district dossier has information on soil type of each district, the types of crops to be taken up if monsoon rains are inadequate or excessive, besides giving information on fodder and livestock. The districts have been broadly categorised as prone to drought, flood, cyclone and vulnerable to heat wave.

The focus of the contingency plan is to prepare farmer farmers in various districts against delayed monsoon, excessive rains and uneven rainfall so that they can grow appropriate varieties and save their crop, Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture director B Venkateswarlu told FE.

The idea of creation of a district plan emerged as extreme weather events such as heat wave, cold wave, untimely and high-intensity rainfall, hailstorm and frost are increasingly being experienced in different parts of the country. The probability of monsoon rains being erratic is 40% of the time, which implies that in 4 out of 10 years, there would be an adverse impact on crop production in the absence of appropriate strategy to deal with such eventualities, an agriculture ministry official said.