Anantapur: Rain deficit along with rise in the mercury levels had an adverse impact on groundnut crop in the region. Anantapur district stands top in groundnut cultivation in the country. Except five mandals, the remaining 58 mandals faced rain deficit during the peak season and hopes were also dashed over minimum production in the present year. Groundnut producers have to face another consecutive loss that would have severe impact on the market. About 15 lakh acres of groundnut crop withered at peak stage of crop during flowering and formation of nuts. Pests further damaged the crops.
Official sources said groundnut was sown in 16 lakh acres but most of the crop damaged due to rain deficit. The Panta Sanjeevani concept had reportedly could not save the crop. Of the 18.8 lakh hectare throughout the state, it was grown in about 7.24 lakh hectares occupied in Anantapur district alone. Anantapur has the distinction as a single district having the largest area under the groundnut cultivation in the world.
Further, other districts of Rayalaseema occupied 72 per cent of extent along with Kadapa, Kurnool and Chittoor districts in AP. A farmer Hanumantha Rajappa from Vattebetta in Rolla mandal in the district lamented he had sown groundnut in five acres expecting good yield at least this year. “But again I have to incur losses for another consecutive year,” the farmer observed.
Despite timely arrival of South West monsoon along with prediction of good sign of crops this year, rain deficit and rise in mercury levels damaged crops at peak stage in most parts of the district. The climate resembled early summer with mercury levels touching 37 degrees Celsius. The temperature rose by at least 3-4 degrees during the season. In addition to withering of groundnut crop, rain deficit had impact on groundwater sources. Venkatampalli in Narpala mandal suffered a jolt due to deep depletion of ground water table.
The tiny village has at least 500 borewells and every farmer depends on groundwater from borewells. At least 100 borewells were defunct due to deep depletion. Suryanarayana, a farmer said that the other borewells in the village met with failure. Groundnut is treated as an important commercial crop in rain fed areas which influences everything for people not only connected with the farming sector but entire trading. Failure for crops for three consecutive years has pushed all businesses into the dark and again, farmer association leader D.Venkatrami Reddy observed.