The deficient monsoon forecast that has stoked fears of drought would be a double whammy for Haryana. The state is already battling the heavy damage to Rabi crops by unseasonal rains and hailstorm three months ago.
The freak weather in February and March had severely hit crops over 3.17 lakh acres in the state, causing 76% to 100% loss.
The crop damage was 51% to 75% in about 1.92 lakh acres of area and 25% to 50% in another 8.24 lakh acre. The southern Haryana districts of Palwal (3 lakh acre), Mahendergarh, Hisar, Bhiwani and Rewari (about 1.50 lakh each) were the worst affected.
ADVISORIES FOR FARMERS
Likewise, the “deficient” monsoon could also hit crops in 5 lakh hectares of area in the rain-fed region of southern Haryana where bajra is the main crop. Production of other crops such as cotton and sugarcane is also likely to be affected partially in case of late or weak monsoon, additional director, agriculture, Suresh Gahlawat told HT.
Though 86% of the total area cultivable is under irrigation cover in the state, the farmers in many parts of Hisar, Bhiwani, Mahendergarh and Fatehabad depend on rains to irrigate their crops. In other areas fed by tubewells and canals and where paddy is the principal kharif crop, poor monsoon might push up the input cost. While there is heavy subsidy on power supply, those with diesel pump-sets would have to spend from their pockets.
Gahlawat said the department would issue weekly advisories to farmers on the steps required, depending on monsoon arrival and forecast. “We are ready with a contingency plan involving supply of short-duration seeds, specific advisories and watersaving techniques for farmers,” he said. Last year also, rainfall in the state was 56% deficient, but there was no major crop loss due to the state’s irrigation facilities.