With several regions facing severe deficit in the monsoon, an agriculture ministry advisory has asked farmers to grow contingency crops such as short-duration pulses and millets and prepare the soil for the coming rabi, or winter, crops.
A region-specific advisory by the ministry and India Meteorological Department (IMD) has urged farmers in the flood-hit north-eastern states to immediately drain out excess water from standing crop fields and transplant submergence varieties of paddy. In the rain-deficient south and north interior Karnataka regions, the advisory has urged farmers to undertake sowing of short duration crops like pulses, minor millets besides growing fodder crops like jowar, maize and bajra.
For the Rayalaseema region, which has received 8% less rainfall than the normal benchmark long-period average (LPA), the advisory has urged farmers to continue sowing contingency crops like sorghum, cowpea, horsegram, korra and bajra, utilising the expected rainfall.
In Marathwada and Madhya Maharashtra, where rainfall deficiency is 49% and 43% of LPA, respectively, the advisory suggested preparation of fields for sowing of rabi jowar and safflower. It also suggested undertaking of compartmental bunding for rainwater harvesting for sowing rabi crops.
In Gujarat, the agri ministry note has suggested intercultural operations like hoeing and weeding and applying mulch in standing crops for conserving soil moisture. Besides, it also suggested sowing of castor and sorghum, transplanting of brinjal, tomato, chilli and other vegetable crops in the coastal zone. “As there was no significant rain during the last few weeks and mainly dry weather is likely to continue, apply protective irrigation for standing crops like pearl millet, vegetable, cotton, castor and groundnut crops,” the advisory said.
Meanwhile, the overall monsoon rainfall deficit continues to be 14% below LPA. The quantum of average monsoon rainfall across the country during June 1-September 8 has been 658 mm, 14% less than the LPA of 768 mm. The LPA is calculated on the basis of annual rainfall recorded during 1951-2000 (89 cm). IMD on Tuesday said the southwest monsoon has been vigorous over Karnataka and active over Marathawada, Vidarbha, Telangana and Kerala in the last 24 hours. The met department also said the monsoon has withdrawn from parts of Punjab, Haryana & Rajasthan.