Gujarat: Dry spells loom large, crop failure likely in 6 districts
State officials are worried about kharif crop sowing failing in six districts of Kutch, Morbi, Porbandar, Rajkot, Jamnagar and Ahmedabad, if it doesn't rain in about a week. Farmers say that while the government's statistics show a healthy picture, the ground reality could be drastically different as inadequate rain is on the verge of destroying crops. According to the weekly acreage report of Gujarat's agriculture department, the kharif acreage as on July 15 stood at 48,79,785 hectare, which is 57.57% of the three-year average of 84,76,895 hectare and higher than the 38,71,399 hectare sowing in the corresponding period last year. However, farmers from many parts of the state have started complaining that sowing has failed. Around 300 farmers from Halariya and Hulariya villages of Amreli district have written to the local taluka official and extension officer, saying that sowing has already failed and that their crop insurance should be settled. "It hasn't rained since June 13. Farmers have sown cotton, groundnut, sesame, jowar and corn but crops have failed. We have sown twice, we can't sow a third time," said Bakul Korat of Halariya village. Farmers have urged the government to conduct an immediate survey to settle crop insurance at the earliest. Atul Shekhda, president of Khedut Hitrakshak Samiti in Junagadh district said that farmers started sowing after Vayu cyclone in Saurashtra. But since then, owing to inadequate rains, crops did not get regular irrigation. "We are getting reports of failure of crops such as cotton and groundnut. Farmers are being told to irrigate their farms as rains are delayed, but there is no water," Shekhda told DNA. A senior agriculture department official agreed that crops are at risk in six districts of the state, if there are no rains in about a week. "We have not yet received reports of damage to sowing. Damage is unlikely in major crops, but likely in minor crops. We have advised farmers to preserve water. Major problem is likely in Saurashtra, while rains are good in south Gujarat and central Gujarat has canal irrigation. Parts of north Gujarat are getting Narmada water," he said.