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This Year's Summer Crops May Be Damaged Due to Rising Temperature, Says Experts

States accuse the central government of doing little to assist them in increasing summer agricultural output.

Chintu Das
Crop Production
Crop Production

Summer crops, which are cultivated on the Indian subcontinent between 'Rabi' (winter) and 'Kharif' (monsoon) crops, may be harmed by this year's extremely hot March and April, according to agricultural experts.

States have also criticized the central government for failing to take any steps to assist them in increasing output of summer crops like pulses, oilseeds, and healthy cereals.

Summer crop seeding begins in the last week of February or the first week of March, with harvest occurring in May or June.

This year's summer harvests are causing alarm among the government and farmers. Summer crops require a maximum temperature of 35 degrees Celsius, according to experts. They go on to say that if the temperature rises beyond 40°C, the crops will be harmed.

Summer moong (green gram) and urad (black gram) made up the bulk of summer harvests, according to Aditya Pratap, principal scientist at the Indian Institute of Pulses Research in Kanpur.

He went on to say that the fact that the temperature has been over 40°C since the first week of April and that the weather has been dry may affect pollination of these pulse crops. Due of the heat, pulses will not be able to form beans.

Farmers who harvested potatoes and mustard in the middle of February and planted summer crops in the final week of February or the first week of March, according to Aditya Pratap, would be unaffected.

Farmers who harvested wheat and planted pulses in the middle or final week of March after harvesting it, on the other hand, may experience crop damage.

Concerns About Procurement

Summer crops, which are cultivated in the remaining season between Rabi and Kharif, are regarded as a source of supplementary revenue for farmers. Summer crops, which make up the majority of such crops, are being promoted by the Indian government in order to minimise imports of pulses and oilseeds.

The central government is calling on the state governments to encourage farmers to produce more summer crops. States, on the other hand, claim that the central government is not taking any concrete steps to procure these crops.

According to the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare, summer crops have been sown on 5.58 million hectares this year. This is a modest decrease from the 5.64 million hectares planted the previous year. Summer crops were planted on 3.36 million hectares in 2018-19.

This problem was discussed during the National Agriculture Conference for the Zaid Summer Campaign 2022, which was held in Delhi in January by the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare.

The procurement problem was highlighted by the Madhya Pradesh government's additional chief secretary for agriculture. In the summer of 2021, Madhya Pradesh produced 1.2 million tonnes of moong, according to him. A total of 0.8 million hectares have been planted with crops by the state.

The central government, on the other hand, only permitted 0.25 million tonnes to be purchased through the Price Stabilisation Fund.

As a result, the state government's financial burden grew. It was unable to motivate its farmers. As a result, it had to spend Rs 200-300 crore on the disposal of the goods.

However, the secretary informed the delegates that from now on, the central government will acquire 25% of entire summer crop production.

However, beginning this year, state administrations will be required to provide timely information regarding the increase in total planted area of summer crops, so that authorization to purchase can be granted in advance.

The Union Ministry of Agriculture's Directorate of Economics and Statistics has also been ordered to keep a check on the numbers from time to time.

Crop Production Has Increased

Bihar authorities claimed during the conference that summer crops have been planted on 1.1 million hectares in the state, with pulses and oilseeds accounting for roughly 0.8 million hectares. Pulses were planted on 0.52 million hectares of this total.

Bihar has announced that it will expand the area under summer crop production, which will include sunflower, urad, moong, hybrid maize, and summer rice. Summer crops will be sown over 80,000 hectares in Jharkhand. There will be a lot of summer rice and summer moong.

Odisha has announced that it will sow summer crops on 0.62 million hectares in 2022, up from 0.59 million hectares in 2019.

Odisha stated that it has received no complaints regarding summer crops. However, it urged that the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana compensate losses caused by wild animals as well.

Odisha further stated that the national government was not providing any support to the state under the National Food Security Mission.

Summer moong yields will be boosted thrice, while sunflower yields will be enhanced by 25%, according to Haryana. In 2020-21, Maharashtra sowed summer crops on roughly 0.1 million hectares.

Because of the moisture in the soil brought on by the winter rains, Andhra Pradesh believes it has a high chance of producing summer crops. This is why the government has devised a unique method for sowing black gram, green gram, and groundnut.

In addition, Karnataka has set a goal of planting summer crops on 0.5 million hectares. Although the state government is attempting to cultivate millet under the Crop Diversification Scheme, Kerala reported paddy was sown across the state during the summer season.

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