Written by Avinash Nair | Ahmedabad | Published: June 12, 2020 5:13:05 am
Farmers sow crops in a field near Ahmedabad. Pre-monsoon rain in the first week of June has encouraged farmers to sow Kharif crops earlier than usual. (Photo by Javed Raja)
Pre-monsoon showers in the first week of June has encouraged farmers to sow Kharif crops earlier than usual. Kharif crops have been sown on more than 2.18 lakh hectares of agriculture area, which is almost four times the acreage during the last season.
Compared to a normal rainfall of 17 mm, Gujarat has received 258 mm of rains in month of June so far, most of which were in Saurashtra and South Gujarat regions of the state, according to figures from the Indian Meteorological Department. The Kharif sowing too is concentrated largely in these areas.
According to the figures published by Gujarat Department for Agriculture and Farmers’ welfare, a total of 2,18,683 hectares have been sown with Kharif crops by June 8, 2020. During this time last year, Kharif crops were sown only on 56,000 hectares. Of the total area sown so far in Gujarat, 79 per cent or 1.72 lakh hectares is in Saurashtra region.
Like every year, farmers sowing groundnut (1,11,961 hectares) and cotton (78,496 hectares) have taken a lead. The sowing of these two cash crops is significantly higher this year.
Last year during the Kharif season, only 5,216 hectares of groundnut and 40,100 hectares of cotton were sown by the first week of June. “This year, we expect the acreage of groundnut to rise. More farmers will be sowing groundnut because last year they got good value for their produce. The government too bought it at Minimum Support Price. Moreover, it is a crop which can be harvested before Diwali, and farmers can go for a second crop during Rabi season,” said Sagar Rabari, head of Khedut Ekta Manch.
“However, we expect fewer farmers to sow cotton this season. Many farmers have told us that the menace of pink bollworms is on the rise which is increasing their input cost. Secondly, it is a crop which takes about 10 month to harvest and the remuneration that cotton farmers received last year was not impressive,” he added.
Of the total groundnut sown in this Kharif season, 1,09,600 hectares are in Saurashtra region, while the same region accounts for 50,200 hectares of the cotton sown. At the district level, maximum groundnut has been sown in Junagadh (40,100 hectares), while maximum cotton has been sown in neighbouring Amreli (23,000 hectares). Both Junagadh and Amreli are among the districts that have received good pre-monsoon showers so far. While Junagadh received 379 mm rainfall this month, Amreli was got 416 mm. The normal rainfall for both these districts at this time of the year is between 21-27 mm.
Despite receiving good rains, sowing is yet to pick up in South Gujarat. Farmers have so far sown the crops in just 1,600 hectares. This is even lower than that in North and Central Gujarat where crops have been sown on 18,800 hectares and 12,500 hectares, respectively.
This Kharif season, farmers have also sown more vegetables (8,900 hectares) and soyabean (2,300 hectares). In the beginning of last year’s Kharif season, the area for vegetables was 3,400 hectares and only 136 hectares for soyabean.
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