BHAWANIPATNA:Erratic rainfall has affected the crops, particularly in non-irrigated areas of Kalahandi during the current kharif season. Of the total 272 gram panchayats, farmers in 234 gram panchayats have been affected and most of the villages come under non-irrigated pockets of the district.
According to an eye estimate report prepared by the Agriculture Department, 49,304 hectares (ha) of paddy crops and 21,743 ha of non-paddy crops have been damaged due to erratic monsoon and moisture-stress condition, said Deputy Director of Agriculture, Laxman Palatasingh.
Of the two sub-divisions in the district - Dharamgarh and Bhawanipatna - the maximum extent of damage has been noticed in Bhawanipatna. The only solace for Dharamgarh sub-division is the Indravati irrigation project that provides water to five blocks.
According to the report, of 1,80,403 ha covered under paddy, crops have been damaged in 49,304 ha and out of this, 13,832 ha have suffered more than 66 per cent damage. In another 35,472 ha, the damage is between 33 and 66 per cent.
Although in Indravati-irrigated pockets there is no water scarcity, the crops have been damaged by pests in Jaipatna, Kalampur, Junagarh and Dharamgarh blocks. Field staff of the department are providing technical advice to farmers.
As far as non-paddy crops are concerned, cotton, pulses and oil seeds were grown in 1,93,564 ha of which, 21,743 ha have been damaged due to moisture-stress condition.
Cotton was grown in 46,152 ha and a good yield was expected. However, the crop grown in sandy soil areas, particularly in Narla, Lanjigarh, Bhawanipatna, Kesinga and Golamunda blocks are facing moisture-stress condition. Under this situation, the crop yield will be much lesser than expected, said farmers.
The Agriculture Department is yet to prepare a contingency programme for Kalahandi district in the wake of the crop loss. Recently, 1,700 mini kits of mustard, sun flower and groundnut seeds were supplied to the Agriculture Directorate. As this was not sufficient to address the crisis, the district administration has urged the Agriculture Department to come up with a contingency plan for farmers.