Winter crops sowing in Gujarat has been slower this year, thanks to lower irrigation facilities as well as unsuitable weather conditions, down almost 29 per cent on a year-on-year basis.
As per data from the state agriculture department as on December 1, winter sowing has touched 1.67 million hectares in the state. Last year at the same time it was around 2.35 million hectares.
So far, about 44 percent sowing has been done from last year’s total of 3.85 million hectares. Two major crops wheat and jeera (cumin) have seen significant dip in sowing.
“Winter Sowing was late this year due to unfavorable weather conditions. Still the weather is hot during the day which is not suitable for winter sowing. This is the main reason for slow progress of winter crops sowing”, said Raj Kumar, principal secretary of agriculture and co-operation department, Gujarat.
In two major crops wheat and jeera, the sowing has been far less compared to last year. As per data provided by agriculture department, sowing of wheat has reached to 517,500 hectares as on date, as against 864,800 hectares of last year.
Similarly in jeera, so far sowing has been done on 159,800 hectares as against 268,700 hectares in the same period last year. Jeera sowing has decreased by about 40 per cent as compared to the previous year.
According to officials, Saurashtra and Kutch region has water shortage for irrigation as monsoons were not good in this area. Because of this, farmers are not taking risk to plant winter crops.
C J Dangariya, director of research in Junagadh Agriculture University (JAU) said, “Only Junagadh and Surendranagar districts have sufficient water for irrigation while rest of the areas are having water scarcity which may decrease wheat, jeera and other winter crops sowing.” Earlier, agriculture department had said that sowing in winter may decrease 30 per cent this year.
According to state agriculture department data, winter sowing in 2013-14 was done on 3.85 million hectares, higher by 29 per cent from 2012-13’s 2.98 million hectares. Wheat, jeera, maize, mustard and gram are major crops sown in winter in Gujarat. Wheat was sown on about 1.5 million hectares last winter, while jeera was cultivated on 455,000 hectares.