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Thursday, Oct 24, 2019

Beed diary, Week 41: Frustrated farmers destroy kharif plantation on 13,000 hectares

On July 28 this newspaper had reported that farmers in the drought-hit parts of Marathwada, had begun uprooting kharif crops like cotton, soyabean and bajara rather than invest further in the stunted, water-starved crops.

pune Updated: Aug 23, 2019 16:46 IST
Shrinivas Deshpande
Shrinivas Deshpande
Hindustan Times, Pune
Sakharam Shinde’s destroyed mango crop.
Sakharam Shinde’s destroyed mango crop.(Laxman Narnale/HT Photo)
         

Sakharam Shinde, 44 from Pimpalner village in Wadavani tehsil of Beed district, uprooted 110 mango trees on his 2.5 acres mango plantation with 202 trees as he could not afford to purchase water from private tankers for the orchard. He had already spent Rs 3 lakh on water tankers for the orange orchard.

“I have orange plantation on four acres of land and have spent almost Rs 3 lakh on water tankers since March. I have done this by borrowing money from friends and relatives. If this dry spell continues, then we won’t have any option but to destroy it,” said Shinde.

He was worried about loan repayment and was among farmers who have destroyed their crops for want of water. According to government officials, standing crops on nearly 13,078 hectares have been uprooted by frustrated farmers in Wadwani tehsil of Beed district to cut losses.

On July 28 this newspaper had reported that farmers in the drought-hit parts of Marathwada, had begun uprooting kharif crops like cotton, soyabean and bajara rather than invest further in the stunted, water-starved crops.

Ram Ghodge, from Rajuri Ghodka village uprooted three acres of soyabean and one acre of cotton. “I have uprooted the cotton crop as it suffered from stunted growth due to inadequate rainfall and I did not want to invest more on insecticides. I want to save money for Rabi sowing,” said Ghodge 45, who has two acres of bajara plantation.

The drought in Maharashtra’s Marathwada region has entered its 41st week and rainfall deficiency in Beed, one of the region’s worst-hit districts, rose to 50% as of August 21 from 41% on August 14.

Beed district has received just 169.9 mm rainfall as of August 22, the lowest in Marathwada. The cumulative rainfall for Beed stood at 43.83% as against its average annual rainfall of 666 mm said India Meteorological Department (IMD).

“Yes, this year the situation is worse and as a result many crops have suffered from stunted growth and farmers have uprooted crops to avoid further losses. Now the situation is so bad that it is difficult to recover the loss in the kharif season even if there is good rainfall henceforth,” said R. S. Nikam, Beed district’s superintending agriculture officer.

Ram Ghodge uprooting his cotton plantation due to lack of water.
Ram Ghodge uprooting his cotton plantation due to lack of water. ( Laxman Narnale/HT Photo )

The Agriculture department has submitted a report to the tehsildar on the financial loss of farmers. Wadavani tehsildar Surekha Swami said, “Yes,I have received a report from the agricultural department that around 13,000 hectares of standing crops have been uprooted by farmers due to inadequate rainfall. I have ordered a joint visit and panchnama (factual account) by the talathi and krushi sevak and the total drought affected area will be conveyed to the government.”

According to the agriculture department, around 32,000 ha of land in Wadavani tehsil went under kharif sowing this year, of which 19,078 ha was under cotton, 1,083 ha under Tur, 4200 ha under soyabean, 3925 ha under bajra,100 ha under muug and remaining under other crops.

Besides crop failure, farmers in the district are facing a fodder crisis for their cattle. Hence prices of cattle have dropped by almost 50% in the cattle market.

Mukund Padune, a farmer from Pimplaner said he had to purchase one bundle of fodder for Rs 50-70 and one cow needs five such bundles daily. Padune has three cows and four buffaloes on his farm. Last week he decided to sell two of his cows but was offered just Rs 12,000 as against the Rs 25,000 that he would have got in a normal season.

Many farmers’ unions have approached the district administration and have sought help from the government.

Water scarcity continued in Beed city with the civic body releasing water once in 15 days. In some parts of the city, water was being released once in 20 days. Beed, along with Latur are the worst drought-affected districts in Maharashtra.

First Published: Aug 22, 2019 17:04 IST

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