Gujarat: Fear of crop damage after rain in 30 talukas

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Over 30 talukas in Gujarat, mainly the ones in northern districts and Kutch region, received unseasonal rainfall between Monday night and Tuesday morning, triggering fears of damage to standing crops.

Kankrej taluka of Banaskantha recorded the highest of 21 mm rainfall in the state, followed by Posina in Sabarkantha district with 12 mm rainfall. Both are northernmost districts of Gujarat bordering Rajasthan.

As almost all districts of Saurashtra region as well as Kutch experienced light rainfall, farmers were concerned even as officers of state agriculture department maintained there was no cause for worry if the weather clears by tomorrow or day after.

“While it rained in almost all parts of the district, the intensity was barely sufficient to make roads wet. Overcast skies and rain can adversely affect crops such as chana (gram), cumin seeds and coriander. But the amount of rainfall wasn’t enough to cause any damage,” Ramesh Tilva, district agriculture officer (DAO) of Rajkot said.

“However, much depends on the weather over the next three to four days. If overcast conditions and rain continue, acid from leaves of chana can get washed off, which can hamper vegetative growth as well as flowering. Cumin seeds can get afflicted by fungal diseases and coriander leaves can start rotting,” he added.

Rajkot has emerged as the single-largest chana district this season with plantation in 1.36 lakh hectare (lh) so far. Cumin seeds and coriander acreage is 21,900 hectare (ha) and 21,000 respectively in Rajkot.

VM Bathar, DAO of Devbhumi Dwarka, where farmers have sown cumin seeds in 57,100 ha, said it might help that the crop is tender.

“Sowing was completed around a month ago and the crop is at vegetative growth stage, when it can cope with weather changes. It rained between 6 am and 9 am but the rainfall was not intense enough to cause any damage. However, much depends on what type of weather we have over the next few days,” said Bharar.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a forecast of light rain in Banaskantha, Sabarkantha, Mehsana, Patan, Dahod, Panchmahal, Mahisagar and Aravalli due to a western disturbance as a cyclonic circulation over north Pakistan and neighbourhood with a trough and the induced cyclonic circulation over southwest Rajasthan and neighbourhood.

Other talukas that received rainfall are Khedbrahma, Himmatnagar, Vijaynagar, Prantij, Idar and Vadali in Sabarkantha. Also, talukas of Danta, Bhabhar, Vadgam, Deesa, Dantiwada, Tharad, Lakhani, Vav and Palanpur in Banaskantha districts reported unseasonal rainfall in 24 hours till Tuesday 6 am.

A few places in Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Aravalli, Kutch, Meshana and Patan districts also reported rainfall.

On Monday the Department of Agricultural Meteorology, Dantiwada, issued an impact based forecast for agriculture that stated, “Due to forecast of light rain, farmers are advised to protect their crop and withhold the irrigation and chemical spray in standing crops. Keep young calves indoors during rain.”

Following this rainfall, a fall in minimum temperature is expected by two to four degrees on Wednesday and Thursday.

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