Farmers beat lockdown barriers; over 90% harvesting completed in Bihar

By Radharaman Prasad Shahi

Covid-19 pandemic has brought almost the entire country to a halt. Wheels of trains have completely stopped for the first time in its history. Roads are deserted. No passengers are flying. Major businesses have stopped. Amid this unprecedented lockdown and uncertainties, farmers are showing the way. Over 90 per cent harvesting of Rabi crops have been completed in Bihar.

Farmers have also shown resilience and determination in sowing crops. So far the summer crop sowing is 14 per cent higher than what was done during the same period last year. This is critically important to ensure food security in this time of uncertainties.

One major reason for higher sowing during the summer season this year is good rainfall. The rainfall received in the season has been 14 per cent higher till 17th April this year when compared to last year during the corresponding period.

Rabi crop harvesting is also going on at a good pace. Out of total wheat sown in 310 lakh ha, 63-67 per cent has already been harvested in the country, data released by the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare showed.

State-wise harvesting has also increased and reached to 90-95 per cent in Madhya Pradesh, 80-85 per cent in Rajasthan, 60-65 per cent in Uttar Pradesh, 30-35 per cent in Haryana and 10-15 per cent in Punjab.

“Harvesting is in its peak in Haryana, Punjab, UP and is likely to be completed by the end of April 2020. Punjab has deployed 18000 combines and Haryana has deployed 5000 combines for harvesting and threshing,” the ministry said in a statement.

Of the pulses sown in 161 lakh ha, harvesting has been completed for gram, lentil, urd, mung and field pea. For sugarcane, out of the total sown in 54.29 lakh ha, harvesting has been completed in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Punjab. For the states of Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Haryana and Uttarakhand, 92-98 per cent harvesting has been completed. In Uttar Pradesh, 75-80 per cent has been completed and this will continue till mid May 2020.

As on 17th April 2020, summer sowing in the country is 14 per cent higher compared to last year during the corresponding period. The rainfall received in the season has been 14 per cent higher compared to last year during the corresponding period which has been conducive for the sowing of summer crops. As on date, the total summer crop area has increased to 52.78 lakh hectares from 38.64 lakh hectares  as compared to the corresponding period a year ago. The area coverage under pulses, coarse cereals, nutria-cereals and oilseeds has increased to 20.05 lakh hectare from 14.79 lakh hectare as compared to last year during the corresponding period.

Summer rice has been sown in around 33 lakh ha in the states of West Bengal, Telangana, Odisha, Assam, Gujarat, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala.

Pulses has been sown in around 5 lakh ha in the States of Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Punjab, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Telangana.

The summer crop not only provides extra income but also creates a lot of employment opportunities in between Rabi and Kharif for the farmers. The soil health is also improved through cultivation of the summer crop, particularly the pulses crop. Mechanised sowing has also helped the summer crops immensely.

Gyanendra Kumar Keshri

Gyanendra Kumar Keshri is consulting editor of BiharConnect. He has nearly 20 years of experience in journalism, having worked for diverse media streams in India and abroad.

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