Hyderabad: Widespread rains in the state over the past two weeks have revived hopes for the Rabi season among farmers who suffered losses due to the failure of the monsoons in Kharif.
With all the irrigation projects brimming with water, the state agriculture department is coming out with an advanced Rabi action plan to irrigate 25 lakh acres.
Seeds and fertilisers have been kept ready in all districts to enable early Rabi sowing.
Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has directed Pocharam Srinivas Reddy, agriculture minister, to tap the opportunity of having full water levels in all projects to increase agriculture production.
The minister is holding meetings with agriculture officials on preparing the advanced Rabi action plan, which will be released soon.
Principal secretary of agriculture C. Partha-sarathi said, “All the major, medium and minor irrigation projects put together cover 48.95 lakh acres in state. Of this, crops are sown in an extent of 23.95 lakh acres, if we take the average of last eight years. However, with good inflows due to the recent rains, we are aiming to cover 25 lakh acres.”
The advanced action plan aims to tap good inflows in major projects such as Nagar-junasagar, Sriramsa-gar, Nizamsagar, Jura-la, Kadem, and Musi, which cover 21.32 lakh acres. The department is aiming to irrigate 20 lakh acres under these projects. The five lakh acres will be irrigated by medium and minor irrigation projects.
Mr Srinivas Reddy said that consultations are being held with irrigation department to ensure scheduled release of water for rabi crops.
“Irrigation minister Harish Rao has already prepared an action plan. About 6.50 lakh acres can be irrigated under Nagarjunasagar project alone as per existing water reserves. Another 8.68 lakh acres under Sriramsagar and 2 lakh acres under Nizamsagar can be irrigated easily,” Mr Srinivas Reddy told this newspaper.
Lack of water hit Kharif cultivation
Kharif crops took a hit with water in the major irrigation projects like Nagarjunasagar, Niz-amsagar and Sriram-sagar fallng below the dead storage level.
The crops sown in lakhs of acres that are covered by major projects dried up as water could not be released.
With prolonged dry spells in Kharif especially between July and September, the government cut Kharif production estimates by half.
In the Kharif season last year, the total foodgrain production in the state was 82.52 lakh tonnes. Production during the kharif season this year is estimated at 37.69 lakh tonnes, which amounts to a 54.3 per cent reduction.
These estimates have taken into account deficit rainfall, dry spells and reduction in crop sown areas. The report predicted a steep decline in production of rice, wheat, maize, red gram, black gram and green gram.
The government is worried over ensuring MSP for cotton farmers with significant production in Kharif.
Officials are urging farmers to opt for paddy, wheat, red gram, black gram and green gram....