Not long ago we were grappling with the problems of drought and the measure for alleviating it in Andhra Pradesh. The tablehas now turned suddenly and we are faced with the problems of unprecedented floods in several districts of AP and Karnataka which were reeling under drought till very recently.
The rainfed regions of the flood affected Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have suffered a double blow this year due a prolonged drought followed by heavy downpour. The latter has caused severe damage to life and property besides causing widespread crop loss. Now that the flood situation has abated the immediate attention has to shift to restoring agriculture in the affected regions. The major dryland crops grown in the flood-affected regions are castor, pigeonpea, cotton, sorghum, groundnut, maize and millets. All these crops are sensitive to water logging. There is however little chance of saving any crop that has been waterlogged for over 3-5 days. Wherever it is possible, the immediate step to save crops would be to drain out water as soon as possible. The following could be the other steps to restore the crops and minimize losses.
- Watch out for yellowing symptoms and top dress with urea in a furrow along the crop rows as soon as the conditions are favourable to enter the fields
- Watch out for pest and disease incidence, as high humidity coupled with high temperature is favourable for pest/disease development
- Wherever crops have been washed out immediate plans need to be made for next crop options
- Plans to be made for raising good rabi crops taking advantage of soil moisture and better surface water conditions
- Farmers may be encouraged to take up seed production of groundnut, castor and raise chickpea under protective irrigation
- Exploit the soil moisture for raising vegetables
- In low-lying areas floodwater would have brought valuable clay and silt that would be of immense benefit to the farmers. This needs to be exploited for raising suitable crops
- Floods have also ensured that most surface water bodies are full. This augurs well for maintaining groundwater level until the next rainy season. It also ensures water for livestock during the next summer.
- The moisture-rich soils will ensure availability of fodder for a longer period and hence it will be a good time to invest in livestock
- Small ponds and tanks should be seeded with fishlings to ensure some livelihoods to landless families
Submitted by Sreenath Dixit on Thu, 08/10/2009 - 23:47