Karnataka hoping ‘normal’ monsoon will steer rural economy back on track | Bengaluru News – Times of India


BENGALURU: When the state economy was hit due to Covid-19-induced lockdown last year, the one silver lining was the record farm output.
Karnataka, which is again reeling under the second Covid wave, is hoping for a repeat of last year’s feat and is placing its optimism on projections of a ‘normal’ monsoon this year (June to September), which could address 60-70 per cent of the sector’s worries.
“Monsoon contributes 74% of the state’s normal annual rainfall and it has an enormous impact on the economy since more than 70% of agricultural area in Karnataka is rain-fed,” said Manoj Rajan, commissioner, Karnataka Disaster Management Authority. “Monsoon showers are also crucial to ensuring adequate drinking water, irrigation and more hydro power output in the state,” he added.
While the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has declared the onset of southwest monsoon in Kerala on June 3, it is expected to enter Karnataka by June 6-7. “The state is most likely to have normal to above normal rainfall over north, central, coastal and Malnad regions and parts of southern districts are likely to have normal to below normal rain,” Met officials said.
Farmers have started preparing for the kharif season and are hoping the lockdown will be lifted on June 7 and they will get adequate labourers, something that has been a major concern due to unprecedented reverse migration. The two-month lockdown has also disrupted supply of seeds and fertilisers from factories to stockists and distributors.
‘Lockdown-related delay’:
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“Normally, many farmers start procurement of seeds and other inputs about two to three weeks ahead of actual sowing. This year, they delayed purchase due to the lockdown, which restricted movement at village and taluk levels,” said an agriculture officer. The target area for sowing this year is 77 lakh hectares, according to agriculture department officials; this has remained unchanged since last year.
Brijesh Kumar Dikshit, commissioner, state agriculture department, said the forecast of ‘normal’ monsoon has fuelled hope that sowing of kharif crops, which is due in the next few weeks, will be good and they are hoping to get closer to last year’s record 150-million tonnes of foodgrain production. “The even distribution of premonsoon rain has paved the way for robust kharif output. The overall acreage under kharif sowing is likely to remain good this year too,” he added.





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Sagar Biswas

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