Failure of the South West Monsoon and the rainfall during the peak kharif season have seriously affected crops in the drought-hit Rayalaseema region. Farmers are in a state of deep distress and seeking financial relief from the government. (Photo: Representational Image/PTI)
Anantapur: Failure of the South West Monsoon and the rainfall during the peak kharif season have seriously affected crops in the drought-hit Rayalaseema region. Farmers are in a state of deep distress and seeking financial relief from the government.
Small farmers and farm labourers have been moving into metropolitan cities in search of wages after leaving their elders and children in villages.
The worsening drought situation and the extreme hot climate have adversely impacted the agriculture sector across the region this season. The state government had declared 28 mandals as severely drought-hit in Anantapur district. This was followed by Kurnool with 24 drought-hit mandals, Satya Sai district with 21, Annamayya district with 18 and Nandyal district with 5 mandals while Chittoor has four regions under drought.
The major crop for the region, groundnut, was badly damaged due to the failure of the South West Monsoon at the early stage of sowings. There was no timely rain even during the Dasara festival.
The abnormal rise in mercury levels led to withering of crops at their peak stages. At least Rs 800 cr worth groundnut crop was damaged in Anantapur area alone in this kharif season. Farmers took up sowings only in 5.77 lakh acres as against the normal acreage of 10 lakh during the season.
The Anantapur groundnut has big demand in Gujarat and Maharashtra due to its high oil content.
Though the NREGA programme was being executed, there has been a steady rise of migrations by small farmers as also farm labour from Adoni, Kalyanadurgam, Madakasira and Kadiri areas to Bengaluru city.
Collectors of the Rayalaseema districts were keen on providing the poor with NREGA works, but migrations continued unabated. In addition to groundnut, crops like paddy and chilli along with horticulture orchards suffered a lot due to the unfavourable weather conditions and lack of water through the irrigation canals of Tungabhadra and Handri Neeva projects.
CPI state secretary K. Ramakrishna requested the government to help the farmers suffering due to the drought in the region. "Announcing the mandals as drought-hit alone will not suffice. More steps are called for," he proposed.