Monday November 18, 2019
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Delayed Monsoon Spells Trouble for Farmers

The real challenge will be looking at the income security of small and marginal farmers in rain-fed areas

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To accomplish this goal, it is important to overcome constraints like shortage of irrigation facilities, farm roads and insufficient marketing facilities, it added. Pixabay

Southwest monsoon this year has become a thing of concern for policymakers as it has not just been delayed by a week, but it is also likely to be sluggish and erratic, which may spell trouble for the farm sector.

Paddy, the primary crop of the kharif season, is likely to be hit as June as well as July are expected to be rain-deficit. The output of pulses such as arhar (pigeon pea), soybean and coarse cereals is also likely to be affected.

As droughts occurred in patches across the country, there won’t be a disastrous impact on the overall food-grain production but it may have beating on small and marginal farmers by way of breaching their income security.

“The areas with irrigation such as Punjab and Haryana are not of concern. The real challenge will be looking at the income security of small and marginal farmers in rain-fed areas,” said T. Nandkumar, former Union Agriculture Secretary.

Monsoon, Trouble, Farmers
Southwest monsoon this year has become a thing of concern for policymakers. Pixabay

A senior official at the Agriculture Ministry said that it was in constant touch with the states to apprise the Centre of the developing situation.

“We have asked them to be prepared with precautionary and remedial measures in case there is deficit rainfall,” said the official, requesting anonymity.

However, there was no clarity if the state governments have ensured optimum seed reserves if first sowing attempt goes waste due to erratic rainfall.

The Food Ministry has started procuring over 50,000 tonnes of onion to deal with shortage if output goes down, indicating the government is not optimistic about good rainfall this year.

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Farmers have been advised by private weather forecaster Skymet to postpone sowing by almost a week of the conventional dates as it said there are less chances of rains if the onset of the monsoon is delayed.

If there is a long gap between two rain spells, there is high probability of newly planted seeds getting killed.

Skymet has predicted “below average” monsoon — 93 per cent of LPA — this year with indications of higher risk in the eastern parts and major portion of Central India being rain deficient.

The average, or normal, rainfall in the country is defined between 96 and 104 per cent of a 50-year average for the entire four-month monsoon season, or Long Period Average (LPA), which is 887 mm.

Monsoon, Trouble, Farmers
Paddy, the primary crop of the kharif season, is likely to be hit as June as well as July are expected to be rain-deficit. Pixabay

Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted “near normal” monsoon — 95 per cent of the LPA — with evenly distributed rainfall.

It, however, said there is 51 per cent chance that the monsoon would be normal or above while there is 49 per cent probability that it remains below normal.

The Agriculture Ministry official said the rainfall this time is expected to be “erratic” and “sluggish” citing recent developments related to the monsoon.

The second half of the rainy season would see better rainfall as August and September are expected to see normal rains. However, the entire season is expected to end on a deficit note.

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The rainfall in June will be 77 per cent (164 mm) of the LPA while it will be 91 per cent (289 mm) in July, 102 per cent (261 mm) in August and 99 per cent (173 mm) in September, as per Skymet.

Skymet has said that paddy production is expected to reduce to 97.78 million tonnes this kharif season compared to 101.96 million tonnes in the previous season.

It also said there is 40 per cent possibility of about 66 per cent districts in the country being deficient or largely deficient if the monsoon is “below normal”.

Nandkumar expects about 100 districts, including those in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region, Telangana, Bihar and Jharkhand, to be rain deficient. (IANS)

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Farmers in MP Come Up with Ingenious Solutions for Rainwater Harvesting to Address Water Scarcity

Rai said the village was infamous for facing water scarcity

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Farmers, MP, Rainwater Harvesting
To do this, he used waste material to channel the water to borewells and dry wells using a pipeline network. Pixabay

In a country that suffers from water scarcity all year, farmers in the villages of Narsinghpur district in Madhya Pradesh have come up with ingenious solutions for rainwater harvesting to address the issue.

While water shortage has been the bane of Salichauka village for long, a local farmer, Manoj Rai, has devised a solution not only to tackle the issue but also to find a way to manage excess rain water and use it to recharge water sources. To do this, he used waste material to channel the water to borewells and dry wells using a pipeline network.

Rai said the village was infamous for facing water scarcity. Such is his understanding of the gravity of the problem that he expounded that the 3rd World War would be fought over water and that several cities like Cape Town and Shimla are already on the verge of a Day-Zero situation.

He added that everyone can come up with their own technique for water harvesting without spending extra money and if every farmer did his bit towards redirecting excess water to recharge the groundwater, the future generations too will have water.

Farmers, MP, Rainwater Harvesting
In a country that suffers from water scarcity all year, farmers in the villages of Narsinghpur district in Madhya Pradesh have come up with ingenious solutions. Pixabay

After Rai’s solution came to the limelight, other farmers also started adopting it and the water level has reportedly risen, the villagers claim. They believe this will help them during the summers too.

A resident of the village Kaluram Patel said he adopted the technique after he saw several other villagers using it.

He said they have witnessed a rise in water level and the tube wells now have water which would help him grow multiple crops in a year.

Similarly, in the rocky terrains of Bilguwa village, it was becoming increasingly difficult for the farmers to procure water for their crops when Monu Pathak, a local farmer, devised a solution to conserve water.

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Pathak said he constructed a model to recharge the groundwater level. He pointed out that it is extremely important to look for methods to save water when half of the country is facing water shortage and the rest facing floods. He also urged the residents of the village to employ such methods in their houses or farms.

Sushil Kumar, a resident of Bilguwa, said the technique employed by Pathak is easy to operate.

He said if every farmer were to utilise rainwater harvesting techniques, the water level would witness a significant rise and would solve the water crisis in the village.

Agricultural scientists claimed that the crops in the region were getting affected by the declining groundwater level and commended the efforts by the farmers to address the water crisis.

Farmers, MP, Rainwater Harvesting
While water shortage has been the bane of Salichauka village for long, a local farmer, Manoj Rai, has devised a solution not only to tackle the issue but also to find a way to manage excess rain water and use it. Pixabay

Rajesh Tripathi, Deputy Director at the district agriculture department, pointed out the irregular pattern of rains that the region has witnessed.

He said that if water is being continuously pumped using tube wells or sprinkler pump, the water sources are going to keep depleting.

If we can find a way for the rainwater to replenish the water table directly, farmers would benefit from it, he said.

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While commending the efforts taken by the farmers of Bilguwa and Salichauka, he added that efforts are being taken to educate the farmers about the importance of adopting such techniques to recharge any water source in their vicinity. (IANS)