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Poor monsoon Hits Paddy Cultivation in Bihar

Farmlands have developed cracks and paddy saplings are either drying up or turning yellow.
paddy TN.

Representational use only.

Patna: Kamlesh Yadav and Dhirendra Singh are among hundreds of thousands of farmers in Bihar who are uncertain about paddy sowing during the Kharif season due to poor monsoon.

June-end is the best time for paddy transplantation but our farmlands are dry due to poor monsoon. We expected good rainfall like last year and before when heavy rains were recorded in June. After a gap of two years, poor monsoon has again triggered fears of deficit rainfall which could result in a drought-like situation,” Yadav, a marginal farmer in Itawan village, under Aurangabad district’s Haspura Block, told Newsclick.

Yadav had managed to prepare a nursery of paddy saplings, locally known as Dhan Bichra, with the help of groundwater by using diesel and electric pumps—but they are drying up due to the lack of adequate water.

Singh expressed a similar worry. “Farmlands have developed cracks and paddy saplings are either drying up or turning yellow. If the situation continues till July first week, farmers will lag in paddy sowing. Many farmers have not completed or prepared paddy sapling nurseries due to the lack of rain,” Singh, another marginal farmer in Motha village, Arwal district, said.

Farmers were hopeful of a normal monsoon, like in 2021 and 2020, when Bihar received surplus rainfall in June and paddy output increased.

Farmers admitted that they have no option but to depend on the monsoon for water-intensive paddy cultivation. “Farmers like us have been starting at the sky daily since mid-June after the pre-monsoon drizzle,” Yadav and Singh said.

However, much to the relief of Yadav and Singh, moderate-to-heavy rains lashed major parts of the state, including the capital Patna and neighbouring districts, for nearly an hour on Wednesday.

Wednesday’s rainfall has come as a ray of hope at the moment. Sanjay Kumar, an official at the Indian Meteorological Centre, Patna, told Newsclick that more rains are expected. “Heavy rainfall was reported in several districts on Wednesday, which has reduced the percentage of deficit rainfall in the state. As of June 29, Bihar has 9% deficit rainfall,” he said.

Monsoon normally hits the state between June 12 and 14. But a poor monsoon till the end of June has triggered fears of deficit rainfall again which could result in a drought-like situation in the state.

According to agriculture department officials and agricultural scientists, scant rain in 36 of Bihar’s 38 districts till the last week of June has affected paddy sowing. Except for Kishanganj and Araria, most other districts are dry.

Paddy plantation should be completed by July 15 to get a good output, according to scientists. Further delay will affect productivity as well as quality, they have said.

An estimated two-thirds of Bihar’s 12 crore population and nearly two-thirds of all agricultural activity are dependent on agriculture.

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