Agriculture Current Affair 29 August 2022

Paddy sowing down by 5.99 pc so far; major lag in Jharkhand, West Bengal, Chattisgarh

Area sown to paddy declined by 5.99 per cent to 367.55 lakh hectare so far in the ongoing kharif season as a shortfall in rains has led to less coverage in some states, according to the agriculture ministry data released on Friday. Paddy was sown in 390.99 lakh hectare in the year-ago period, the data showed.

It is the main kharif crop, sowing of which begins with the onset of the southwest monsoon from June and harvesting from October onwards.

As per the data, less paddy area is reported from Jharkhand — 10.51 lakh hectare (ha), West Bengal (4.62 lakh ha), Chhattisgarh (3.45 lakh ha), Uttar Pradesh (2.63 lakh ha), Bihar (2.40 lakh ha), and Odisha (2.24 lakh ha) till August 26 this kharif season.

Area sown to paddy remains lower even in Assam (0.49 lakh ha), Madhya Pradesh (0.46 lakh ha), Haryana (0.44 lakh ha), Tripura (0.22 lakh ha), Nagaland (0.21 lakh ha), Meghalaya (0.18 lakh ha), Punjab (0.12 lakh ha), Maharashtra (0.07 lakh ha), Jammu & Kashmir (0.05 lakh ha), Goa (0.03 lakh ha), Mizoram (0.03 lakh ha) and Sikkim (0.02 lakh ha) in the said period.

Besides paddy, there was a 4.95 per cent decline in total pulses area to 127.71 lakh ha till August 26 of the kharif season of the 2022-23 crop year (July-June) against 134.37 lakh ha in the year-ago period.

Tur/arhar area was down marginally at 44.07 lakh ha against 47.20 lakh ha, while that of urad acreage was lagging slightly at 36.15 lakh ha compared to 37.91 lakh ha in the comparable period.

Experts link recent drop in wheat production to climate change, urge India to take it up at COP27

The year so far ranks among the worst for Ali, a 75-year-old farmer in Uttar Pradesh who lost 35 per cent of the wheat crop he sowed in his two-hectare field due to the heatwave. The quality of the harvest was not that good either.

His paddy crop was affected as well, but it was not as bad as the wheat crop. Ali feels 2022 is definitely the worst farming year of his life.

“I sowed the wheat seeds in December-end and harvested it in April, but the heatwave witnessed in March led to a loss of crops,” the resident of Kodia in western Uttar Pradesh said.

Kamal, a 54-year-old farmer who owns the field next to Ali’s, was lucky as he sowed mustard as well this year. The harvesting season for mustard is shorter than wheat, and hence, the crop was not affected by the heatwave.

“The loss I incurred from wheat was compensated by mustard. But wheat and paddy are staple crops that we grow. We can change our pattern for a year but that cannot be the case every year. We just do not know how the weather will be next year,” he said.

Climatic conditions such as drought and heavy rainfall were considered abnormal just a decade back, but now they are the new normal, Kamal said. “Farmers like me are grappling to address this crisis.”

Rishi, a farmer from Pilakhana village of western Uttar Pradesh, said he has decided to grow crops with shorter harvesting season like peas and maize alongside wheat so as to not be completely dependent on just one crop.

“It might lead to less production of wheat but we cannot do it at the cost of our earnings,” he added.

India’s wheat production is projected to have declined nearly three per cent to 106.84 million tonnes in the 2021-22 crop year. The decline is likely to have been caused by a heatwave that resulted in shrivelled grains in the northern states of Punjab and Haryana.

There were reports that India was planning to import wheat in view of the shortage but the government denied it.

This year, India recorded its warmest March in 122 years with a severe heatwave scorching large swathes of the country in the month. The average temperatures observed pan-India in April was 35.05 degrees Celsius, which was the fourth-highest for the month in 122 years.

Agriculture experts have flagged the recent rise in mysterious diseases causing dwarfing of crops, saying this too may be the result of climate change.

Kisan Andolan: Samyukt Kisan Morcha to Intensify Protest Against Government

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) will hold its proposed national level meeting on September 4 in Delhi and will lay out its plan to increase national protest against the Union Government for not implementing the accepted demands of the farmers.

SKM member Comrade Hannan Mollah who is also a former member of Lok Sabha revealed this on Sunday during a press conference. It is important to mention that he is also the general secretary of All India Kisan Sabha. He took part in the Kisan Sabha’s 40th two-day state-level delegate session, which started in Tarn Taran on Sunday.

Mollah represented the Communist Party of India (CPM) in the Lok Sabha eight times.

He criticized the Union Government for not granting the demands made by the farmers after the Delhi Morcha.

He said that despite all of the farmers’ efforts, the SKM’s nationwide protest had only served to remind the Union Government of the acknowledged demands of the farmers.

He emphasised the importance of giving farmers’ families who lost family members while taking part in the Delhi Morcha compensation and implementing the Minimum Support Price (MSP) on crops a legally binding guarantee.

According to Mollah, the Union Government is focused on promoting communalism in the nation rather than addressing issues like rising inflation, unemployment, poverty, farmer debt, etc.

He said that every day, 52 farmers committed suicide around the nation, but the government showed no indication of concern.

Sukhwinder Singh Sekhon, state vice-president of the All India Kisan Morcha, criticised the government’s decision to remove the state’s authority from the Bhakhra Beas Management Board and extend the BSF’s authority up to 50 kilometres from the Indo-Pak border at the time.

Additionally, he demanded MSP for farm-produced milk, vegetables, etc. The AIKS session, which will end on Monday, is being attended by delegates from all over the state.

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