Monday, 15 December 2014

Unseasonal rain will not harm crops: agricultural department

AURANGABAD: Farmers in drought-affected Marathwada who were driven to despair due to deficit rainfall during the 2014 monsoons can now heave a sigh of relief, after the region witnessed unseasonal showers over the last couple of days. Agricultural department officials have informed the Maharashtra government that the unseasonal rain has not ruined crops in the district. On the contrary, the rainfall could help the plantations survive, said authorities in the district agriculture office. The change in weather, however, could result in a marginal rise in vegetable prices. 

Parts of the district had reported moderate rainfall on Friday and Saturday. 

District superintendent agriculture officer P D Lonare said that the average rainfall in Aurangabad on Saturday was recorded at 14 mm. "Such showers at this point do not harm crops, unless these are accompanied by hailstorms. Fortunately, in most of the district, we did not witness hailstorm and thus, the showers had no negative impact on the crop," Lonare told TOI on Sunday. 

Aurangabad district has seen sowing on 6.29 lakh hectare of land in the current season, of which cotton is being cultivated on 4.33 lakh hectare, while maize occupied 1.69 lakh hectare. "The main two crops remained unaffected due to the rainfall and we have communicated this to the state government," said Lonare. 

Most cotton-growing farmers have already completed picking and thus there is no significant quantity of the crop in the farms. For the maize crop, the rainfall has turned out to be beneficial, along with the jawar and gram crops. "Many farmers in the water-starved districts, who were struggling to save plantations, will now be relieved," Lonare said. 

Parts of the region, like areas in Osmanabad district, where heavy rainfall and hailstorm was reported, would see loss of agriculture produce. "The rain has weakened plant stems and damaged grains and affected their colour," said Lonare . 

Lonare said that the district's agriculture output in the current season would plunge, but it will be because of scanty rainfall during monsoon. "Sixty to seventy per cent less crop is expected this season," he said.


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