Drought weakens crops in 42,000 hectares in Karnataka worth Rs 30,433 crore.

Deficient rainfall in Karnataka this year has resulted in crop loss of about 42 lakh hectares worth about Rs 30,433 crore during the six-month kharif season that begins in April. The drought destroyed 39.74 million hectares of agricultural crops  and 1.82 million hectares of horticultural crops. Karnataka  declared drought in 195,236 landholdings during the southwest monsoon. Revenue Minister Krishna Byre Gowda and his team of senior officials briefed the 10-member Inter-Ministerial Central Group headed by Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Secretary Ajeet Kumar Sahu. Karnataka received 497 mm of rain from 1 June  to 31 August, 28 °C. The deficit indicated that it was also the third lowest rainfall in the state since 1973. 

 The uneven distribution of rainfall has resulted in farmers not being able to sow most of the major crops such as paddy, ragi, red gram, groundnut, sunflower and cotton. These plants are usually sown in July and August. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, while interacting with the central team, urged the members to appreciate the Union government on the severe drought situation in Karnataka and make it respond as soon as possible to the distressed farmers. In August, the state experienced its lowest rainfall in 122 years, leaving  reservoirs almost empty, posing a major challenge to meet drinking water needs. The state needs 33 tmc feet of water for drinking water alone, the CM told the team. The government would need about  214 billion rupees to supply drinking water through tankers in 11 cities, including Bengaluru, for 180 days. Bengaluru alone would need Rs 158 crore, state officials said in their presentation. 

  The report added that the country prioritized small and marginal farmers in drought relief for economic stability, social equity and economic growth. Small and marginal farmers do not have the financial resources to face economic disruptions caused by drought. Timely input support makes it possible to restart agricultural activity and prevent it from falling into deeper poverty. Another reason is that agriculture is an important factor in the country’s economy.

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