New Delhi: The Andhra Pradesh government is hoping that navdhanya or nine grains, coupled with various water budgeting initiatives, will help its farmers, particularly those from the most drought-prone Rayalaseema area and Anantapur districts.
Between 2000 and 2017, there were only four years of satisfactory monsoon with no drought declared for any district; in all other years there was critical drought. The year 2018-19 too has been exceptionally bad.
This has not just affected the livelihood of the people but has also led to increased migration from these areas. The Andhra Pradesh Drought Mitigation Project (APDMP) seeks to arrest the damage.
The ideal crop pattern being promoted under navdhanya focuses on millets, with groundnut, sunflower, maize and vegetables with intercropping of sorghum, bajra and red gram. It will also have mixed cropping ranging from 5-20 per cent of the land for one crop and 5-20 per cent of the land reserved for another crop. Vegetable crops too are being encouraged.
Asked how a farmer with a small land holding can accommodate all these crops, Rasha Omar, Country representative of the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), said, “Mono-cropping has not been giving good yields and is more prone to failure due to water scarcity and other issues. So, this navdhanya/multi-cropping is the only hope.”
Ms Omar was speaking at an event at the ongoing United Nations Conference on Combating Desertification, Land Degradation and Droughts (UNCCD) here.
As per the Desertification Atlas 2016, as much as 22,98,758 Ha in Andhra Pradesh was the total area listed under desertification in 2011-13, compared to 22,67,728 Ha in 2003-05.
(Nivedita Khandekar is an independent journalist based in Delhi. She can be reached at email@example.com or follow her on twitter at @nivedita_Him)...