Torrential rain, flood damage 25% kharif sowing in Gujarat

An aerial view of flood-hit Totana village in Banskantha district, Gujarat, on Tuesday. Photo: PTI
Torrential rain and flooding, especially in north and Saurashtra, have resulted in at least 25 per cent loss in kharif sowing across crops such as cotton, groundnut, castor, pulses, guar and cereals.

According to government data, Gujarat saw kharif sowing on 6.06 million hectares, which was 70 per cent of last year’s 8.57 million hectares. Of these, major crops such as cotton and groundnut have seen sowing on 2.50 million hectares and 1.4 million hectares, respectively. However, the excess sowing this year might have been washed away by the excess rain, said government officials and traders.

Cereals have been sown on 720,000 hectares, pulses 382,000 hectares, soybeans 106,300 hectares, guarseeds 83,000 hectares and castor 54,000 hectares, according to the state agriculture department.

Traders have estimated that at least 50,000 hectares of sowing have been damaged, though a complete assessment would happen only once the water begins to recede.

"So far, at least 25 per cent of sowing may have been lost. In worst affected areas like Sabarkantha and Saurashtra, it could be as high as 60-70 per cent and 40-50 per cent, respectively,” said Arun Dalal, a leading cotton trader.

Major crops like cotton and groundnut were expected to see higher sowing, he said. “There is still time to sow the Kalyan variety of cotton, which can be done till mid-August if the water recedes and rainfall subsides. The full extent of loss can be done only once the water recedes and the government releases some data,” Dalal added.

The Gujarat government has initiated an assessment of the farm loss situation in the state, even as a team from the Centre is expected to arrive soon for its own assessment. In a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the state government decided to initiate such an assessment after water recedes in flooded areas. 

At 491.54 mm this monsoon season, Gujarat has seen more than 60 per cent of the average rainfall of 810 mm due to a low pressure. According to the state government's water supply department, the excess rainfall has filed around 30 water reservoirs of the 203 and these have been put on high alert. Another 11 dams are 90 per cent full.

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