Prompted by the onion supply shortage, caused by unseasonal rain, the state government has decided to study changing cropping patterns and their impact.
“We are writing to agricultural universities to research climate change, which damages crops. The current problem is related to global warming and we need to take note of the change in crop patterns it forces,” said Agriculture Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil.
Onion prices have ben a big worry for the state government over the last few days. Prices hit an all-time high, angering consumers.
Following the damage caused by unseasonal rain last month, the state announced a compensation package of Rs 1,000 crore for farmers.
Farming is a round-the-year activity in Maharashtra and crop damage often cause loss of habitat.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan suggested such research during the Legislature’s Winter Session in Nagpur this month.
While replying to a debate on compensation packages for farmers, Chavan said weather patterns had changed significantly in the past five decades, disrupting the monsoon. This needs to be studied, he said.
Universities will be assisted by the state in the study. It will try to identify what is causing the change in cropping patterns and farm practices. A plan will be drawn up to see how the patterns can be reworked to suit farmers.
“Take, for example, onion farmers who lost their bulbs to the rain. They can do nothing but wait for the next season,” Vikhe-Patil said.