Improved irrigation systems and weather alerts can reduce crop damage

“Sir, you can see the damage for yourself. The withered crops in the scattered fields bear witness to the devastation you have faced.”

Farmer Kuber Singh says, as he shows off his barren paddy field,

Farmer Kuber Singh had planted the rice crop in his 10-acre field in Mingrakala village in Berasia, 30 kilometers from Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh. Now, the crop has been completely destroyed due to lack of rain. Kuber Singh says in despair,

“Neither the weather nor the government supports us. Due to unseasonal heat and lack of rain at the beginning of August, the entire rice crop was damaged. Also, because of the heat, even the corn crop began to mature quickly. To save the corn, it is necessary to maintain moisture in the fields, which is why we do additional irrigation and pray for rain.”

Another farmer, Chandresh, from Mohanyakhedi village in Raisen district, says: “He planted the paddy crop in his 25-acre land at a cost of Rs 7 lakh. Due to lack of rain over the past month, thick cracks have appeared in the field and the paddy crop has started turning yellow from Down. We no longer have any reason to keep this dry crop in the field now. He adds,

“The government claims to provide 10 hours of electricity For farmers, but we only get it for four to six hours. “This electricity is not enough to save our crop.”

A similar situation is starkly evident in the villages of Sanchi, Garatganj and Begumganj tehsils in Raisen district, where the area lacks any major irrigation projects.

There was a lack of rain in August due to the effect of El Niño, destroying kharif crops (soybean, rice, maize, jowar, oilseeds and pulses) in more than 25 districts of Madhya Pradesh. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that the state had not witnessed such a drought in the past 50 years.

Cracks in rice fields, Mohanyakhedi village, Raisen district

CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan said in the emergency review meeting that

“In drought-affected areas, collectors have been instructed to conduct a survey, assess the damage and submit a report. Farmers need not panic, instructions have been issued to release water from the dam into rivers and canals for irrigation purposes. Also, if necessary, a crop survey will be conducted and an amount will be given Crop insurance with compensation.

“It rained for only 10 days in August,” says Vipul from Bavdekheda village in Dewas district. “The short-lived soybean variety has dried pods, and if the soybean was planted for a long time, the flower dried and fell due to the heat. The situation is the same in all the villages.” “And many farmers even resorted to plowing their fields because there is no hope now.”

Nilesh shows us a soybean plant grown in his field in Rolgaon in Sihore district and says this

“Due to the lack of rain, there has been a heavy pest infestation on the plants. We have sprayed the pesticide three times but it is ineffective. Leave the profit from the crop as we will lose from the increased cost.”

Could the crops have been saved by alerting the farmers in time?

“If we had known about the weather change earlier, we could have minimized the damage by irrigating our fields,” says Ganpat Dodiya, who grows soybean and other kharif crops (pulses and oilseeds) on 22 acres in Mingrakalan.

Rajendra Ravi’s sister from the same village was getting married four months later. If the harvest had been good, he would have married his sister with great pomp, but now he would either have to take out a loan or postpone the wedding date. Rajendra says he supports Ganpat Dodiya’s point of view

“Before Covid-19 we used to get… Weather alerts Information via SMS or call from the Department of Agriculture, but it has now stopped. We complained about this on CM Helpline but no action was taken.

Timely advice from scientists and farmers took less losses

There are several farmers in Kolokhede village, which falls under Berasia area of ​​Bhopal panchayat, who received timely advice issued by scientists of the agriculture and meteorological department via mobile phones. The farmers benefited from this, and based on this information, the farmers were helped to reduce their losses. So says farmer Kolokhede Manchilal

“Since the rabi season, we have been getting advice from scientists through phone calls, and following the advice of scientists, we planted pulses and soybeans on our 7-acre land in advance. We also did additional irrigation to maintain moisture in the fields. This helped us that when the wave of “The unseasonal heat of August, our crop was ripe and ready by then. Now we are preparing for harvest.”

Dozens of farmers, including Premlal, Deepak Kushwaha and Dilip Malviya of Kolokhede village, seem to agree with Munshilal.

says B.L. Playa, Joint Director in Charge of Farmers Welfare and Agricultural Development Department

“It does not mean that farmers are not being informed about climate change. Information is being sent to farmers through various means such as phone calls, SMS and mobile applications, and awareness camps are being organized to sensitize farmers. If the information does not reach farmers in time, we will update Our program data again and we are trying to increase the number of awareness camps.

Dry soybeans in the fields, Bavdikheda village, Dewas district
Dry soybeans in the fields, Bavdikheda village, Dewas district

Bhopal Central Agricultural Engineering Institute scientist Dr B M Nandiri says efforts are being made to create awareness among farmers besides providing information through Doordarshan, mobile calls, messages and awareness camps. Currently, awareness camps have been organized in rural areas of Vidisha district on June 15 and August 12 only. During this camp, efforts were made to sensitize farmers by providing information about crops like wheat, mustard, etc. in the upcoming season.

says Devendra Singh Dhange, president of the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh’s Berasiya Tehsil, skeptical of the facts on the ground.

“The administration claims that it is educating farmers through phone calls, letters and organizing camps, but the administration’s efforts seem minimal on the ground.”

Destruction of soybean crop in Madhya Pradesh

Will it rain in September?

According to the Meteorological Department, Madhya Pradesh has received 17% less rainfall than average since June 1. The rains stopped temporarily in August, while less rain is expected in September. If the Meteorological Department’s forecast is correct, all kharif crops, including rice and soybean, will be severely affected.

Farmers Welfare and Agricultural Development Department, Joint Director-in-Charge PL Belaya says so

“At the moment there is not much concern regarding the crops, but if the water does not fall in September as it does in August, the problem will increase and the crops will suffer a lot. Especially the land where there is no black soil. Whether it is light soil or stony soil, it shows Adverse effects on soybeans and other crops. In such cases, we contact the farmers. We have advised the farmers to water the crops through sprinkler irrigation. Where there is black soil, there is nothing to worry about at the moment, but if there is no good rain in the week “In the future, the situation will worsen and production will be affected. Currently, the flower is in the stage of becoming a pod. There is great concern at this stage because in such a situation we will see a decline in production and a state of loss.”

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