Weak rains hit rabi sowing in Gujarat

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Ahmedabad | Published: December 1, 2018 2:59:47 AM

Gujarat has witnessed subdued sowing of rabi crops on account of water scarcity due to weak monsoon in the state this year.

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Gujarat has witnessed subdued sowing of rabi crops on account of water scarcity due to weak monsoon in the state this year. As per the data released by the state agriculture department, overall sowing has decreased 33% this year as compared to last year. As on 26 November, 2018, total sowing of rabi crops has been done on 1.23 million hectare, against 1.83 million hectare in the corresponding period of 2017.

Crops such as wheat, jeera (cumin), coriander, gram and onion have registered poor sowing so far due to scarcity of water for irrigation mainly in Saurashtra and North Gujarat. According to agriculture experts, this year total rabi sowing may decrease by 30-40% in the state because of water scarcity.

“The main reason for poor rabi sowing in the state is weak monsoon. Because of it, farmers have no water and they are not eager to sow any crop this winter. We have seen less sowing of wheat, cumin and coriander in the Saurashtra part and the same situation is seen in the north and central part of the state. We believe that overall rabi sowing may fall by 30-40% this year in Gujarat,” said AR Pathak, vice-chancellor of Junagadh Agriculture University.

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As per the agriculture department’s data, area of irrigated wheat is 170,800 hectares this year so far. It has decreased by 60% from 420,300 hectares of last year. Similarly, sowing of jeera has decreased to 122,200 hectares from 191,400 hectares, down by 36%. Sowing of coriander has drastically fell by 79% from 35,700 hectares to 7,600 hectares this year.

This year, there was scarcity of water for irrigation in the Narmada canal network, which covers roughly one-third of the state’s irrigated land. Onion has covered just 8,700 hectares so far this year, against 16,900 hectares in the same period last year. Sowing of vegetables have gone down by 34% to 60,900 hectares in rabi 2018, against 92,400 hectares in the corresponding period of 2017.

Among other rabi crops, cereals were sown in 270,900 hectares against last year’s 567,000 hectares while pulses were sown in 119,000 hectares compared to 217,700 hectares last year.

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