Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Saturday, March 05, 2016

the ruin after the rain

the deluge in november 2015 and the floods of dec 2015 seem to be a distant memory now.

with this excess water, cropping area nearly tripled and the farming community looked for a prosperous and bountiful farming year.

but alas.....
it is only around 90 days since the rains stopped and already the well levels have dropped alarmingly. the lakes/tanks of the area will barely be able to cover one cropping season (till april end or so).

added to this misery, the pest levels are at astronomical levels. we have lost over 100s tomato/cauliflower/chilly plants, amongst losses of over 25% (estimated) in field crops of legumes/oil seeds.
in our 6 years, we have never seen pesticide sprays on groundnut crop (no. 1 cash crop of this area). already farmers (with cash) have resorted to 3 sprayings, and everyone at least 1. and this has barely had any effect.

paddy crop seems relatively less affected but due to oversupply offtake prices are likely to be depressed for paddy. 

as if this was not adequate misery, the farm lease rates and the daily agri labour rates had also gone up by 25-50%.

but agricultural labour never had it so good. employment was plentiful and labour rates were high. being election year mnrega allocation was in full swing and 'occupied' the time of most agri labour for better part of everyday. with mnrega taking away the 'need' for anyone to work for a living few were willing to work on agri fields. with lesser hands and hours for agri work, labour rates shot up and a lot of argi work (like field prep and de-weeding) were either not done or done very poorly with very stretched few hands.

sight from here is not pretty. pest and grass ridden fields with lone woman here and there fighting a losing battle against weeds and pests.

so in net result, it is scary to think what the farmer will be able to take home for all their efforts from this 'best growing season' of the year.

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