Rain failure may see prices rising

The area that was sown during the Rabi season in Telangana has touched a five-year low.

Hyderabad: The area that was sown during the Rabi season in Telangana has touched a five-year low due to the successive drought conditions over the last two years. This marks the failure of agriculture for the fourth consecutive crop season, with little rain and groundwater depleting to record levels.

In the ongoing Rabi season that extends from October to March, crops were sown in just 4 lakh hectares against an average of 12 lakh hectares. Rainfall from October to December is crucial for this crop. The rainfall during this period recorded a deficit of 75 per cent in October, 91 per cent in November and 84 per cent in December. The worst affected were foodgrain crops like paddy, pulses, maize and sunflower which witnessed 69 per cent decline.

Normally, paddy crop is sown in 6.45 lakh hectares, but it was sown in just 60,000 hectares. The area under pulses came down by 52 per cent, maize 47 per cent and sunflower 88 per cent. The average groundwater level below the surface stood at 10.24 metres in December 2014, which receded to 13.17 metres in December 2015.

The situation was worse in Ranga Reddy, Medak, Mahbubnagar and Nizamabad districts where the groundwater fell further in December when compared to the level in summer in May. “The government has doubled subsidy for seeds to encourage farmers, yet there are no takers due to drought conditions and depleting groundwater. The production of rice, pulses and maize would be hit badly leading to rising retail prices this year. The government will use the market intervention fund to stabilise prices,” said agriculture minister Pocharam Srinivas Reddy.

The agriculture, marketing and civil supplies departments have initiated an exercise to contain the prices anticipating huge shortfall in foodgrain production.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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