The monsoon which usually arrives in the state by June 10 was delayed by a fortnight. State agriculture commissioner Sunil Chavan told TOI on Sunday that they are contemplating their sowing advisory for the farmers.
“Our officials are collecting tehsil-wise rainfall details and also considering rainfall predictions for the next few days. Based on data, we will issue an advisory about sowing. We had earlier advised farmers to avoid black and green gram sowing, they can now opt for it as intercrops,” Chavan said.
The state recorded sowing in the Konkan region. Paddy up to 2.25 lakh of hectares, which is significantly less than last year’s, has been cultivated, he added.
“The average rainfall in 36 districts is 107mm till June 25 as against 173mm, last year. But, the average rainfall has increased in the last two days. Till June 23, it was just 42mm. As a result, cultivation has been hampered severely across the state. We had advised farmers to hold back any sowing till the revival of monsoon. We will soon issue a region-wise advisory to start sowing,” he added.
He said that farmers have completed pre-sowing works on the farms. “There is adequate stock of kharif seeds in the state. Sowing activity will revive within the next few days,” Chavan, who toured Ahmednagar and Beed districts on Sunday, said.
A section of state agriculture officials said that achieving average sowing in the state would be challenging this year. “Of the 1.52 crore farmers in the state, about 78% fall in the small and marginal farmers’ category. They will not be able to withstand the situation and financial challenges this season,” agriculture officials added.
A few days ago, a senior agriculture official had told TOI that green and black gram (mung and urad, respectively) sowing could be affected as farmers have been advised to refrain sowing these crops if there is not at least 100 mm rain, divided in three-four showers (10-15mm each) in their areas.
“If there is not sufficient rainfall till June 21, the farmers will not take the risk of sowing crops such as green and black gram,” the official had said.
The state agriculture department has already advised farmers to use 20% more seeds than normal to prevent a drop in the harvest. Also, the department has told them to go for multiple crop sowing to prevent the risk of re-sowing.
“But adverse weather conditions have already crippled and then toppled the financial situation of small and marginal farmers across the state. The expenses required for preparing farms have already increased by 20% to 25% this year,” the officials added.