Rajabhau Deshmukh, a farmer from Beed says: We’ve been reaping merely 20-30% of our average crop in the last few years. Even as bank loans, moneylenders’ debts, relatives’ credits and the interest keep gnawing at us, we’ve to somehow run our homes. To be honest, it seems we are not even allowed to fall sick.
Weathering The Change
Nauri grows 72 varieties of crop on his two-acre farm. “The benefit of mixed cropping is that even in extreme weather events, we get something out of the field. Some crops work well in drought, others in flood. Compare this with mono cropping which won’t even yield enough to eat in severe drought”, he explains.
The rains have let us down terribly this year. There were farmers in our area who did not bother planting their rice crop when they realized that it wasn’t going to rain much this year and then there were others that took a chance and planted but didn’t bother harvesting since the crop was a disaster.
Morvarid Fernandez writes: Our crops failed, cattle graze the dry paddy straw, and fields remain fallow because there is not enough water. Bore wells are deeper, the lines longer, and the black blister bug – usually a bane – simply did not appear last year. The monsoon of 2015, you ask. But there just wasn’t one.
IndiaSpend reports: Indian farms depend too much on increasingly uncertain rainfall: while there was not enough rain during the pre-monsoon kharif season (July-October) last year, there has been vastly excess rainfall during this rabi season (October-March). For instance, Eastern Rajasthan, the farm belt of the desert state, had more than 14 times the normal rainfall during this pre-monsoon season.
Chittoor-based farmer and activist Uma Shankari writes: After the year 2010, for the first time we’ve had good rains; in fact exceptionally good rains, a side effect of the Chennai disaster. My husband used to say, “If Chennai drowns, we’ll be saved”. This time it came true. We’ve not seen such heavy rains in twenty, thirty years.
(Note: The weather is changing, adding to the woes of the Indian farmer, who is already in a state of crisis. Even as the pundits split hairs over climate change, for the farmer, it seems the writing is on the wall. In Weathering the change, we present a short series presenting the farmer’s perspective on the impact of these changes.)