Dry spell may lead to crop loss | india | Hindustan Times
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Dry spell may lead to crop loss

IF WEATHER gods were unkind to them, the State Government, too, has been indifferent to the farmers whose wheat crop has dried up due to current dry spell.

india Updated: Feb 24, 2006 01:26 IST

IF WEATHER gods were unkind to them, the State Government, too, has been indifferent to the farmers whose wheat crop has dried up due to current dry spell.

With temperature recording 9 to 10 degree above normal in February this year, the alarm bells have already started. More rise in temperature means more damage to wheat crop. If weather does not change in the days to come, say agriculture scientists, the ultimate losers are going to be farmers.

With weather showing no signs of improvement, the State Government has failed to work out any strategy to educate farmers to minimise the loss. This is for the first time in recent past that such a situation has arisen in the month of February, say officials. Besides, the post of Director Agriculture is lying vacant at this crucial juncture.

A senior officer of agriculture department, however, said urgent FAX and telephonic messages were sent to department’s officers in 17 divisions to send estimates of the damage caused to wheat crop by the fluctuating temperatures. Officers were asked to send their report by Saturday, he said.

As per preliminary estimates, the late variety of wheat is going to be worst affected with Minister for Agriculture Ashok Bajpai claiming that nearly 20 per cent damage had been already caused to wheat crop by now. Although final figures would be available only in the next few days, the preliminary estimates indicate towards the likely magnitude of the damage. “As this is flowering time for the late variety, the dry spell causing the maximum damage,” he said adding at this stage climate should be a bit cooler.

The State Government had proposed to achieve a target of 300 lakh metric tonnes of wheat this year against 225 lakh metric tonnes wheat production in 2004-2005. An area of 90.17 lakh hectare is under wheat cultivation this year against target of 90 lakh hectare and last year’s figures of 91 lakh hectare.

A low yield of 25.02 quintal per hectare against a target of 31.43 quintal per hectare last year did not deter the State Government from setting a target of 33.39 quintal per hectare yield this year. ‘

When asked to comment, the UP Agriculture Research Council DG Professor Chandrika Prasad said he would a meeting of various agencies would soon be convened and teams would be sent to different districts to make an on-the- spot assessment of damage to the wheat crop.

Incidentally, the bad weather conditions prevail at a point when there are already reports of shortage of wheat in the market.