Friday, October 26, 2018

Water scarcity may hit vegetable production


PUNE: The prevailing drought-like situation in parts of the state may hit the production of most vegetables, sending their retail prices soaring early next year.

“The situation of water table in October this year is akin to what it usually is during January each year, which is why production of most vegetables, including tomatoes, may dip by around 20% after the next three months, causing a surge in their prices,” sources from the All India Vegetable Growers’ Association said.

They said considering the prevailing situation, farmers may also steer clear of sowing vegetables in blocks that are reporting a shortage of water. Shriram Gadhave, president of the Vegetable Growers’ Association of India, said the water table has already started dipping in parts of the state. “This will impact vegetable production after the next two-three months. The tomato prices may rise to Rs 80/kg in April next year,” he said.

Vilas Shinde, MD at Sahyadri Farmers Producer Company Ltd, said, “Vegetable plantations have already dipped in vegetable growing regions. Our sources in nurseries, which provide vegetable plants to farmers for planting, are reporting a 50% dip in their October orders.”

He said the area from Nashik to Marathwada, including Aurangabad and Jalna, may see a dip in vegetable plantation mainly, the effect of which might will become apparent as early as December. “A 30% dip in vegetable produce is expected in the near future as vegetable planting has already begun dipping. Some effect on vegetable production in eastern Pune might also be seen, in locations like Indapur, Baramati and Solapur,” Shinde added.

Gadhave said places that do not have canal irrigation facilities were witnessing a dipping water table in October, a phenomenon which usually occurs in January. “Farmers may, therefore, refrain from sowing vegetables,” he said.

He said most areas in the state recorded less rainfall this monsoon. “It is due to this reason that Western Maharashtra, where a bulk of vegetables are grown, may also see a dip in production. No impact on potatoes, however, is expected as most of its production will happen before January 2019,” he said.

A state horticulture department official said the state government has declared a ‘drought-like’ situation in 128 talukas, reporting ‘trigger 2’ conditions. “A bulk of vegetables in the state is produced in regions with canal irrigation. However, the regions where this form of irrigation is not available may see an impact of the water scarcity, a situation which may worsen in January and February,” he said.

Another state horticulture department said the water situation is not that severe in major vegetable producing regions, such as Pune, Satara, Kolhapur, Sangli, Sangamner, Nashik, west Ahmednagar, which fall on the west side of the state, as the dams are full in the Western Ghat region.


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