Odisha farmers stare at possible drought as 21 districts get deficient rainfall

Odisha had last experienced drought in 2018 in nine districts of the state, most of them from western Odisha where farmers suffered crop losses of 33 per cent and above due to moisture stress in the districts. In 2015, at least 25 of the 30 districts had experienced drought due to an erratic southwest monsoon.
In Odisha, Jajpur district has seen the maximum deviation with 57 per cent less rainfall, while Puri has seen the minimum deviation from the average expected rainfall. (SOURCED: IMD.)
In Odisha, Jajpur district has seen the maximum deviation with 57 per cent less rainfall, while Puri has seen the minimum deviation from the average expected rainfall. (SOURCED: IMD.)
Published on Aug 09, 2021 11:44 PM IST
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ByDebabrata Mohanty

With at least 21 of the 30 districts of Odisha experiencing below average rainfall in the current monsoon season, farmers across the state are worried of a repetition of the drought that swept through the state in 2015 and 2018.

Revenue department officials said while nine districts in Odisha received normal rainfall (between -19 to+19 per cent), below-average rainfall was reported in 21 districts. Till August 9, the rainfall across the state has been 484.8 mm, which is 28 per cent less. While Jajpur district has seen the maximum deviation with 57 per cent less rainfall, Puri has seen the minimum deviation from the average expected rainfall.

Agriculture department officials said the lack of rain has affected agricultural activities with 19.97 lakh hectare area farmland being sown with paddy till July 31 compared to 25.22 lakh last year. Similarly, the total crop coverage till July end was 35.86 lakh hectares compared to 41.49 lakh hectares last year.

State revenue minister Sudam Marndi said the government was hopeful of improvement in rainfall this month. “We are monitoring the situation and are well prepared for any drought-like eventuality. There are still possibilities of rain. Our government is always with the farmers and working towards their betterment,” Marndi said.

Odisha had last experienced drought in 2018 in nine districts of the state, most of them from western Odisha where farmers suffered crop losses of 33 per cent and above due to moisture stress in the districts. In 2015, at least 25 of the 30 districts had experienced drought due to an erratic southwest monsoon.

Met officials said the erratic rainfall during the current monsoon was the reason for the deficiency. Though as many as four low-pressure systems were formed over the Bay of Bengal, only one could have a good impact on the state. The weather office said the monsoon core zone regions; including Odisha will not witness widespread rainfall in the next two weeks.

In Ganjam district, villagers are resorting to frog dance hoping that it will bring rain. In Chikiti block of Ganjam, people are bathing frogs with turmeric water and smearing them with vermillion before tying them to a pole. The villagers believe that the croaking sound of the frogs will lead to rainfall.

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Tuesday, December 07, 2021