From acute water shortage impacting crops across varieties till recently, a spell of heavy rains in several parts of the state has led to an upsurge in kharif sowing in Gujarat.
What's more, there has been a major turnaround in water storage in dams and rivers. Potable levels, which had reached single digits in percentage terms especially in North Gujarat, have now risen to double digits in most cases. A few dams and rivers have also started overflowing.
As per the Gujarat government's agricultural department data, total kharif sowing coverage in Gujarat rose from approximately 5.81 million hectares as on July 29, which was 68.63 per cent of three years' normal, to 7.13 million hectares or 84.17 per cent of normal as on August 13, 2019. In terms of crops, cereals have seen the highest surge in kharif sowing in terms of area covered.
Barring a few areas that were affected by flooding due to torrential rains, agricultural department officials said that overall the state has benefited from the recent spell of rains. "Flooding has largely been in urban areas and cities impacting citizens. The agrarian regions, however, have benefited from the same and the sowing is only set to grow from here and be better than last year," said an official.
Water storage across major and minor dams and reservoirs have also improved in the last fortnight or so in Gujarat. As per data from Narmada, Water Resources, Water Supply and Kalpsar Department of Government of Gujarat, current percentage of water storage against total gross designed storage in the state rose from 39.57 per cent as on August 2 to a whopping 72.15 per cent as on August 13, 2019.
North Gujarat, which has been the worst hit due to water scarcity and whose agricultural and animal husbandry economy is largely dependent on groundwater, saw its storage levels rise from 15.51 per cent of total gross storage as on August 2 to 19.85 per cent as on August 13. Whereas Central, South Gujarat and Saurashtra, which have seen heavy spells of rains in the last fortnight or so, witnessed their storage levels jump from 44.06 per cent, 32.77 per cent and 15.92 per cent to 89.67 per cent, 80.07 per cent and 50.10 per cent, respectively in the said period.
On the other hand, kharif sowing for cereals, which was 58.71 per cent of normal at roughly over 794,000 hectares of area covered as on July 29, 2019, grew to 1.13 million hectares or 83.91 per cent of three years' normal as on August 13, 2019.
Similarly, oilseeds, in which Gujarat is one of the leading states, kharif sowing was 65.97 per cent of normal at 1.57 million hectares as on July 29, 2019 which rose to 1.92 million hectares or 80.83 per cent of normal as on August 13, 2019. Sowing area for pulses in Gujarat grew from approximately 284,000 hectares or 49.15 per cent of normal to roughly 341,000 hectares or 58.9 per cent of normal in the aforementioned period.
Meanwhile, sowing on other crops also grew from 76.1 per cent of normal as on July 29 to 89.69 per cent of normal as on August 13.