Madhya Pradesh has launched a publicity blitz to educate farmers about crops which require less water, a top official said on Wednesday, highlighting the state’s response to possibilities of an imminent drought in the country.
Madhya Pradesh is one of the few states in the country to have an extensive irrigation network, ensuring water supply to vast swathes of farmland.
However, officials said that in case of deficient monsoon, even the reservoirs supplying water to the cropland could dry up.
Principal secretary, agriculture, Rajesh Rajora told HT that the state’s contingency plan is based on two eventualities — a late arrival of monsoon and an early receding of the monsoon.
“The agriculture department has been reaching out to farmers through print and electronic media and through krishi mahotsavs (programs where agriculture department scientists meet farmers) where farmers are being discouraged from sowing paddy, a crop that requires comparatively more water,” said Rajora.
He added that farmers are being encouraged to sow soybean, maize, jowar, bajra and groundnut instead.
“Arrangements are being made for seed of these crop types,” he said. Monsoon is expected to hit the state between June 12 and 14.
Optimal utilisation of rainwater for irrigation is a subject agriculture department officials have been asked to explain to farmers, said Rajora.
Union science and technology minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday announced a review of the monsoon and scaled down the deficiency of monsoon from 93 to 88%, with the northwestern part of the country to be the worst hit.
The state had last faced a drought in 2009 when 37 districts out of 50 (now MP has 51 districts) were declared drought-affected.