Jharkhand farmers – as well as the state government – have been left looking at the skies as deficient monsoon rains threatens to take a heavy toll on the state’s agriculture sector, specially paddy production, this year.
While the overall rainfall deficit between June 1 and July 11 stood at 30 per cent, the deficit in July has reached a staggering 63 per cent.
The end result is that farmers have been able to plant paddy seedlings in only 10 per cent of the targeted 18.20 lakh hectares till date, posing a major worry for the state's agriculture department.
The meteorological department has already sounded an ominous warning saying that the next ten days would be crucial for the state. “If the current rainfall condition continues even in the third week of July, several districts may face partly drought condition,” said AK Sen, director at the Patna met office.
The state has received a mere 42.6mm rainfall from July 1 to July 11 while average normal rainfall during the period is 116.2mm. The overall rainfall between June 1 to July 11 is also very high, standing at just 218.8mm compared to the normal rainfall of 313.7mm.
If the weatherman’s prediction goes right, Jharkhand would not see heavy rains till July 13. “The state may see sporadic rainfall at a few places but there is no indication of major rainfall, at least for the next 72 hours,” Sen said. He said that a low pressure condition has formed over Odisha coast but its movement is very slow. “If the system becomes active over the state, monsoon rains may again return to Jharkhand after July 14,” Sen added.
According to met office, some of the districts like Chatra (-67%), Dumka (-56%), Hazaribag (-48%) and Dhanbad (-45%) are inching towards drought-like situation. Even though few districts experienced rainfall in the last 24 hours but the quantum was nothing to write home about. Ranchi recorded 18 mm, Jamshedpur 2.2mm, Bokaro 17mm and Daltanganj 2.2 mm rainfall in the past 24 hours.
Agriculture department officials said that the in most of the districts the paddy saplings are starting to wilt due to lack of rains.
Jatashankar Choudhary, director of State Agricultural Management and Extension Training Institute (SAMETI), said paddy has been sown in less than 10 per cent area till date
He, however, said that the weather condition was conducive for maize, oil seeds and pulses. Maize has been sown in around 40 per cent area against the target of 3.05 lakh hectare, pulses and oilseeds sown on 15 per cent area against a targeted 5.11 lakh hectares and 76,000 hectare areas respectively till date.
“If there is rain in next the five days, paddy sowing coverage would improve. If it delays for more than five days, it may impact paddy production heavily,” Choudhary added.
Rainfall deficit chart (June-1 to July-11)
District Rainfall Deficit
East Singhbum -22%
(Source: Patna Met Office)