‘Spell of rain helping kharif crops’

A spell of good rain in the first 10 days of the month has substantially lowered the prospects of any drought-like situation as the Agriculture Ministry claimed that production of kharif crops coverage was satisfactory.

“Though there is deficit rainfall reported in 95 districts, sowing is normal and satisfactory. The current rainfall in the first fortnight of September in many States will improve the situation. The yield is expected to be same as of last year. There is no drought-like situation,” said the Ministry, reacting to reports that “as many as 225 districts across 17 States could face drought-like situation.” The Ministry said rainfall was near normal and the overall deficit was only about 6%.

Soil moisture

“The kharif crops’ coverage in almost all the States have been satisfactory, and, the rains during the period from 1-10 September, 2017 in Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, Odisha and Jharkhand have improved moisture in the soil,’’ ministry said.

Early this week, media reports had suggested that the National Agriculture and Drought Assessment System had triggered level one of drought alert assessment after deficit rainfall last month. Rainfall shortage and deviation from normal rainfall pattern fall in the first category, while the second category of drought alert is triggered by a shortfall in crop sowing. The final stage of drought assessment is field surveys after prolonged dry spell affecting crop production.

Last year, the Centre introduced a new system of assessing droughts, and, drought warnings were categorised into three categories.

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