WITH THE kharif crop virtually gone in the State due to scanty rainfall in August and September, the Agriculture Department officers are now looking for ways to ‘make up’ for the losses. What they have in mind is an increased rabi output. It is simply another matter that the targets they have set may look far too unreachable.
They include increasing the wheat coverage area from 91.6 lakh hectares to 92.10 lakh hectares and setting the wheat production target at 275 lakh tonne, an increase of 40 lakh tonne. Director Agriculture Sabhajit Tiwari says, “We will compensate the kharif losses with a bumper rabi crop. And how is he going to do it? “We have set an ambitious rabi crop production target. Total crop coverage area would be 118.85 lakh hectares, an increase in 1.23 lakh hectares in comparison to previous year,” Tiwari says.
Though Tiwari is not sure if the kharif production target would be achieved, he sounded confident about the rabi production. “The total rabi foodgrain production target is 307.88 lakh tonne, an increase in 18.61 percent in comparison to previous year. The seed distribution target is 24.35 lakh quintal as against 22.04 lakh quintal distributed last year,” he says.
“To ensure advance sowing of the rabi crop, the Agriculture Department is organising ‘Krishi Unnnayan Pakhwara’ from October 15 to October 31. While 75 per cent of the sowing will be completed by November end, the remaining 25 per cent sowing will be completed by December 15,” Tiwari said.
But there is hardly any taker for Tiwari’s optimism in the Agriculture Department itself.
“With majority of the districts experiencing deficient rainfall, how can we say that we would have enough water in the field during the rabi sowing season,” say officers monitoring the kharif and rabi plantation in the districts.
“The soil has lost moisture due to scanty rainfall and high temperature. Though there will soon be a fall in the temperature, only some good rainfall can revitalise the soil”, they say.
On the other hand, Irrigation Department officials warn that deficient rainfall would affect the availability of water in the canals and majority of them may remain empty if there is no rainfall in the coming days.
The Department has planned to collect water in reservoirs for utilisation during rabi plantation. But filling up the reservoirs and ponds have become an arduous task for the engineers since there is no additional water left in the rivers and canals.
Meanwhile, the Regional Meteorology Department on Thursday sounded heartbroken over the way the monsoon has ditched the State. Its director RK Verma says, “Monsoon has ditched the farmers this year. While East UP recorded minus 22 per cent rainfall, the scenario in the West UP was even worse with minus 38 per cent rainfall.” But he is still hopeful. “Since maritime air has not deserted the state, we are still hopeful of rain in the coming days,” he