Govt’s decision to release water for the rabi crop this season benefits farmers.
Jeevanlal Sahu, a small farmer in Kurud block of Dhamtari district in Chhattisgarh, had a bitter experience in the last rabi season (2009-10) when he failed to opt for summer paddy. But he is now elated as he is set to overcome the failure in this rabi season.
The reluctance of the Chhattisgarh government to release water from reservoirs for the rabi crop last year prevented Sahu from going for summer cultivation of paddy over the two hectares of land that he holds near Kurud, about 70 km from here.
The government’s decision to release water for the rabi crop this season had brought relief not only to Sahu and a large number of farmers, but also to the department of agriculture. Revising the rabi crop outlook for 2010-11, the department increased acreage of paddy by nearly two-folds for this season as compared to last year.
“The department had set a target to take (summer) paddy in 150,000 hectares of area in the 2010-11 rabi season as compared to last year’s 88,400 hectares,” Deputy Director in the Directorate of Agriculture R K Chandravanshi told Business Standard. The unseasonal rain last month had also brought some differences.
Chandravanshi said most of the major reservoirs in the state were full to the capacity now because of good rainfall this year and it was the compulsion of government to release water in the command area for irrigating rabi crops. Last year, the situation was different as the reservoirs were nearly empty and farmers were denied water.
The overall acreage of rabi crops for the season 2010-11 had been increased by nearly 25 per cent. As against last year’s 1.54 million hectares, the acreage for rabi crops had increased to 1.92 million hectares. Wheat, gram, tivada, and sarson (mustard) are the main rabi crops in Chhattisgarh.
The acreage of Tivada had been increased most — from last year’s 353,000 hectares to 480,000 hectares this year. While the acreage of wheat increased from 178,000 hectares to 180,000 hectares, gram would be sowed in 330,000 hectares this year as compared to last year’s 324,000 hectares. The acreage of mustard increased from 160,000 hectares to 185,000 hectares.
The unseasonal rain had in fact helped filling the reservoirs, but it had damaged kharif paddy to some extend. “There is no production loss, but quality has been affected due to untimely rain,” Chandravanshi said. At many places, paddy had been discoloured due to last month’s rain, he added.
As the discoloured paddy fails to meet the uniform specifications, the farmer will find it hard to sell the produce to the government societies and private parties. The department had however estimated the loss from 5-20 per cent in different places in the state.