Heavy rains in Uttar Pradesh spell gloom for farmers

July 24th, 2008 - 8:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, July 24 (IANS) The unexpected heavy monsoon in Uttar Pradesh has brought gloom on the faces of the farmers of the state, apart from losses due to floods. “Paddy crops in almost 20 lakh (2 million) hectare land have already been destroyed due to the heavy rains and floods,” director (agriculture) Rajit Ram Verma told IANS Thursday.

Ironically, at the same time, against the State Agriculture Department’s target of 6 million hectare of paddy plantation this year, 5.2 million hectares have already been covered.

The situation is even more critical in the Bundelkhand region, which, according meteorological department statistics, received only 25 percent of the expected monsoon in the last five years.

However, this time the rainfall in this region went above 200 percent of the average and the two dams, considered to be the lifeline of the region, have swollen dangerously above their maximum capacity.

“While the Silhat dam in Mirzapur is already overflowing, the Matatila dam (in Hameerpur) is 96 percent full,” a regional agriculture department official said.

Experts expected paddy production to touch a whopping 1.7 million tonnes mark this year in Bundelkhand when monsoon came knocking in, but nearly 40 percent of the standing crops has already been destroyed and the losses are expected to rise further.

“Once the monsoon subsides, the farmers are advised to go in for hybrid paddy seeds that have a shorter life span of 130 to 145 days,” suggested Verma.

Cereals, oilseeds and maize can also be a good and profitable alternatives as they are short term plants and are best for the prevailing conditions in the state, he added.

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