The poor progress of monsoon in States such as Karnataka and Maharashtra has prompted the Centre to prepare a contingency kharif sowing plan.
As part of this plan, that may come into effect post-July 15, States have been told to make available short-duration seed varieties of pulses, oilseeds and coarse cereals. The idea is to enable farmers to take up cultivation of alternative crops in case of deficient rainfall affecting sowing.
The switchover to such alternative short-duration varieties may help farmers cultivate and make up for the deficiency.
Agriculture Ministry officials said that contingency plans for seven States – Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu – have been prepared.
The contiguous stretch in these States, extending from Saurashtra, Kutch, Western Marathawada, Vidarbha, Telengana and North Interior Karnataka, has seen a prolonged dry spell post-monsoon last year. The delay in rain this year has aggravated the deficit situation in certain pockets, resulting in a drought-like situation in these States. A total of approximately 5.6 lakh tonnes of short-duration variety seeds that can cover an area of some 340 lakh hectares have been kept ready in these States.
The major crops include paddy, bajra, moong, jowar, soyabean, cowpea, castor and sesame, among others.