Drought takes hold of Jajpur, Bhadrak, Keonjhar, 11 others at the edge of the abyss in Odisha
With the monsoon proving to be a big disappointment during the agricultural month of August in Odisha, telltale signs of drought are becoming visible in the state every day. The major development is that soil moisture has taken a hard hit during the month as forecasts predict a further increase in aridity in many districts in the coming days.
According to the latest forecast from the US-based NCEP, Odisha will experience low rainfall through August 30. The forecast shows that precipitation in the state will be in the range of only 30 to 40 mm. As a result, he predicts a decrease in soil moisture of up to (-) 4 cm during the period from August 22 to 30.
“Good rain in August is crucial as the crops planted grow. In mid-September, the crops reach the flowering stage. An increase in aridity during the month will be harmful for crops. September, then farmers will see crop losses, ”said a senior official in the state agricultural extension services department.
IMD paints a drought prospect
According to the IMD Drought Report, Pune, not a single district of Odisha falls under the wet category. While Keonjhar, Jajpur, and Bhadrak have been labeled as extremely dry, according to the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) estimate, Sambalpur, Balangir, Angul and Gajapati districts are labeled as extremely dry. And Ganjam, Kandhamal. Nabarangpur, Kalahandi and Subarnapur are among the moderately dry districts. The rest of the districts fall under the slightly dry category.
The report shows that all districts in the state, during the period June 1 to August 18, recorded negative SPI values. The rating of negative values by almost every district in the state reveals a very high value – it reflects a decrease in soil moisture, in addition to a decrease in precipitation from normal.
Has the drought set in in Odisha?
The IMD report further states that if the actual SPI for the 3 month period (June 1 to August 18) is measured over (-) 1, then it is considered that the drought event is expected to start in the region. In addition, if the value is greater than 2, then we consider that drought has taken hold of this area.
In Odisha, the actual SPI of Jajpur and Bhadrak is estimated to be very high at (-) 3.12 and (-) 2.76, respectively. While it is greater than (-) 2 in Keonjhar, a maximum of 11 other districts has a value greater than (-) 1. In the rest of the 16 arrondissements, the value is negative but less than (-) 1.
Crop situation in Odisha
The latest report available from the state Department of Agriculture shows that during the planting of rice in this Kharif, the total crop coverage including Kharif legumes, cotton, etc., decreased by almost 7 lakh hectares.
Additionally, reports suggest lowering soil moisture will negatively impact crops growing in agricultural fields across the state. The yield per hectare and the quality of the paddy will be severely affected, deplores a senior scientist from the OUAT.
The footnote: Agricultural experts here are surprised because the Odisha government has yet to declare any districts in the state affected by drought.