Focus: GS-III Disaster Management, Agriculture, Prelims

Why in news?

  • Despite the State government being on overdrive to ensure that agricultural activities continue to be normal during this unprecedented crisis caused by COVID-19, officials are hopeful about pre-monsoon crop cultivation.
  • Besides the main crops such as ragi and maize, farmers cultivate green gram, black gram and sesame, especially in Mysuru, Chamarajanagar, Mandya and Hassan districts, during this season.
  • There is concern whether farmers will take up cultivation of these crops given the situation.

Details

  • The preparatory work for sowing normally starts by the first week of April.
  • In a few places, sowing has been completed, but it has not even commenced in many places.
  • In agriculture timing, is very important. If sowing is delayed, it will hurt the yield and overall productivity.
  • State Agriculture Department officials are appealing to farmers to continue with their agricultural activities while also staying safe.
  • District administrations are working with dealers to ensure there is enough supply of seeds and fertilizers.
  • Pre-monsoon crop contributes to less than 10% of the total agricultural production in the State, but remains important.
  • The paddy in fields in Raichur, Ballari, Koppal and Gangavathi were ready for harvesting, but farmers were facing labour issues though the department has allowed them to get farm machineries for harvesting.

Background

Kharif Crops

  • Kharif crops, monsoon crops or autumn crops are domesticated plants like rice that are cultivated and harvested in India,Bangladesh during the Indian subcontinent’s monsoon season, which lasts from June to November depending on the area.
  • Kharif crops are usually sown with the beginning of the first rains during the advent of the south-west monsoon season, and they are harvested at the end of monsoon season (October-November).
  • These crops are dependent on the quantity of rain water as well its timing.
  • Too much, too little or rain at the wrong time may lay waste to the whole year’s efforts.
  • Kharif crops stand in contrast to the rabi crops, which are cultivated during the dry season.

Kharif Season

  • The kharif season varies by crop and region, starting at the earliest in May and ending at the latest in January. In India the season is popularly considered to start in June and to end in October.
  • Monsoon rains may begin as early as May in some parts of the Indian subcontinent, and crops are generally harvested from 3rd Week of September to October, again depending upon the region and the crops. Rice,maize, sorghum and cotton are the major kharif crops in India.

Rabi Crops

  • Rabi crops or rabi harvest are agricultural crops that are sown in winter and harvested in the spring in India and Pakistan.
  • The opposite of rabi crops are the kharif crops which are grown after, the rabi and zaid (zaa-id) crops are harvested one after another respectively.

Rabi Season

  • The rabi crops are sown around mid-November, preferably after the monsoon rains are over, and harvesting begins in April / May.
  • The crops are grown either with rainwater that has percolated into the ground, or using irrigation.
  • A good rain in winter spoils the rabi crops but is good for kharif crops.
  • The major rabi crop in India is wheat, followed by barley, mustard, sesame and peas.
  • Peas are harvested early, as they are ready early: Indian markets are flooded with green peas from January to March, peaking in February.
  • Many crops are cultivated in both kharif and rabi seasons.
  • The agriculture crops produced in India are seasonal in nature and highly dependent on these two monsoons.
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