Drought May Hit Crop Output Across South India
Effect of drought has been severe in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, especially in rice growing regions
Kochi: Drought in southern states has affected the cultivation of major commodities like rice, cotton and spices. Production of these commodities is likely to come down sharply if the absence of summer rains prevails, experts said.
The effect of drought has been severe in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, especially in the rice growing regions.
“Perhaps for the first time in the last 20-25 years, the Nagarjuna Sagar dam has not become full, hindering irrigation activities. In Kurnool district (Andhra Pradesh), the rains are deficient by 30% and over 1 lakh hectares of rice cultivation have been affected,” said Dr Sahdev Reddy, principal scientist of Acharya N G Ranga Agricultural University. Prakasham, Krishna and Guntur districts too have been drought hit. In Telangana, Khammam and Nalgonda districts have come under the grip of heat wave. Apart from rice, spices such as chillies and turmeric, and cotton are the principal commodities grown here. Chilli prices are already racing to a new high at .₹ 125 per kg with 20% to 30% fall in production.
“In Karnataka, hardly any rabi sowing has taken place. The kharif crop was good. Rice, chilli, cotton and maize are the chief rabi crops,” said Ravipati Peraiah, managing director at Vijayakrishna Spice Farms.
Parts of Tamil Nadu bore the brunt of surplus rains during last November-December. The untimely rains and the dry weather later have played havoc with crops like rice and cotton. The cotton production is expected to fall. “In Tamil Nadu, excess rains and drought may drag the output down by 40% from 5-6 lakh bales last year,” said Ramaswamy, chief executive at Indian Cotton Federation.
Prolonged dry weather without summer rains is threatening to hit pepper and cardamom crop in Kerala. Black pepper output, which is already down by 25% to 40,000 tonnes from the targeted production, is expected to fall further next year.
“Nearly 60% of the total 140 million hectares of cultivated area in the country is rain fed and there are 400 incomplete irrigation projects across the country. If at least some of these projects are completed and a cropping pattern to conserve water adopted, farmers wouldn’t face such water crisis every year,” said P Chengal Reddy, secretary general at Consortium of Indian Farmers’ Association.
Not A Drop to Drink