Phethai Lifts Prakasam Farmers’ Spirits

By TheHindu on 20 Dec 2018 | read

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Area under cultivation set to go up in the district, says official

Cyclone Phethai has spared the Prakasam coast of devastation, but the weather system has brought the much-needed rains to the coastal mandals bringing cheer to farmers in the district, which has been reeling under drought for the fifth year in succession.

“The prospects for a good winter crop have brightened, thanks to rains induced by Gaja and Phethai and a low pressure in between,” Agriculture Joint Director P.V. Sriramamurthy told The Hindu.

The coastal mandals on an average received 20 cm rainfall giving impetus to cultivation of, among other winter crops, bengal gram, tobacco and black gram, he said after taking stock of the post-Phethai situation.

More rain likely

The crop coverage during rabi was 1.73 lakh hectares now as against the normal 2.65 lakh hectares in the district which had an overall 58.9% deficient rainfall since June 2018.

The extent of crops grown in the district where the kharif and rabi cropping seasons mingle, was an overall 3.78 lakh hectares with the sowing picking up late in kharif-growing areas to take the extent of cultivated land during that period to 91% of the normal acreage of 2.26 lakh hectares.

“More rains are likely during the week end with weather officials predicting a fresh low pressure in the Bay of Bengal,” he said.

“'We expect the crop coverage during rabi to improve further with bengal gram alone touching the 1 lakh-hectare mark,” he hopes, adding that farmers had so far taken up cultivation of pulse crops in 1.02 lakh hectares. Bengal gram, one of the main commercial crops, alone accounted for a crop coverage of 83,700 hectares so far. Tobacco has been taken up in 42,053 hectares so far as against the normal 58,569 hectares, according to a report compiled by the Agriculture department.

Over 85,000 farmers in the district had been covered under the Fasal Bima Yojana with half of them non-loanee farmers, thanks to a special campaign undertaken by the department, he added.