Fighting drought: Experts to evolve harvest pattern

In a bid to wriggle out of the continuous crops failures hitting the state year after year, the state government has decided to set up an experts’ panel that will recommend variety of crops suitable for drought-prone areas.
Stating that the positive step will go a long way towards resolving the agrarian crises in the state, a senior agriculture department official said, “Apart from the scanty rainfall hitting crop production, unscientific crop pattern is a major reason behind the current drought situation prevailing in major parts of the state.”
Pointing out that farmers have failed to even recover their spent expenditure, the official added, “The bygone year not only saw less rainfall but also no returning monsoon. Given that we do not enough water management techniques like rainwater harvesting in place, the situation has only worsened and is causing more trouble to both farmers and animals alike.”
Experts in soil, seed, weather, and water management will be roped in study all the drought-prone regions in the state and recommend suitable crops pattern for each of them. “Apart from looking at crops that are able to survive the scanty rain condition in the state, the experts’ team will focus on less rain-dependent crops, including soyabean and jowar,” said agriculture department officials. The panel will submit its report to the state in a month.
The move also augurs well for farmers, who tend to fall into the trap of cash crops like sugar cane and cotton, which demand the availability of monsoons, ground water and irrigation. “If there is no source of guaranteed water supply for irrigation, then farmers should opt for less rain-dependent crops, apart from employing the use of drip and sprinkle technology for irrigation,” added one official.
Once over, the experts’ findings will be made available for the farmers and a government resolution released on the same. However, “we can advise the farmers to follow a certain pattern of crops, but cannot force them,” said officials requesting anonymity, as “only state cabinet is authorised to speak over this issue”.
Welcoming the government move to mitigate the chances of drought years on end, agriculture scientist Dr TM Manjunath said, “If we follow the scientific method of crop pattern, as opposed to the traditional and unscientific ways, and follow agriculture expert’s recommendations sincerely, there is less likelihood of crop failures.”


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