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Rain in 30 talukas in Gujarat has sparked fears of crop destruction

Farmers were anxious as practically all districts in the Saurashtra area, as well as Kutch, had minor rainfall

Rain in 30 talukas in Gujarat has sparked fears of crop destruction
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Between Monday night and Tuesday morning, around 30 talukas in Gujarat, mostly in the northern districts and Kutch region, got unusually heavy rain, raising fears of crop damage.

The highest rainfall in the state was 21 mm in Kankrej taluka of Banaskantha, followed by 12 mm in Posina in Sabarkantha district. Both are Gujarat's northernmost districts, bordering Rajasthan.

Farmers were anxious as practically all districts in the Saurashtra area, as well as Kutch, had minor rainfall, despite state agricultural department officers stating that there was no need to be concerned if the weather cleared by tomorrow or the next day.

"While it rained in almost all parts of the district, the intensity was barely sufficient to make roads wet. Overcast skies and rain can adversely affect crops such as chana (gram), cumin seeds and coriander. But the amount of rainfall wasn't enough to cause any damage," Ramesh Tilva, district agriculture officer (DAO) of Rajkot said.

"However, much depends on the weather over the next three to four days. If overcast conditions and rain continue, acid from leaves of chana can get washed off, which can hamper vegetative growth as well as flowering. Cumin seeds can get afflicted by fungal diseases and coriander leaves can start rotting," he added.

This season, Rajkot has emerged as the single-largest chana district, with 1.36 lakh hectares (lh) planted thus far. In Rajkot, there are 21,900 hectares (ha) of cumin seeds and 21,000 hectares (ha) of coriander.

Farmers have seeded cumin seeds in 57,100 acres of Devbhumi Dwarka, according to VM Bathar, DAO of Devbhumi Dwarka.

"Sowing was completed around a month ago and the crop is at vegetative growth stage, when it can cope with weather changes. It rained between 6 am and 9 am but the rainfall was not intense enough to cause any damage. However, much depends on what type of weather we have over the next few days," said Bharar.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast light rain in Banaskantha, Sabarkantha, Mehsana, Patan, Dahod, Panchmahal, Mahisagar, and Aravalli due to a western disturbance as a cyclonic circulation over north Pakistan and the surrounding areas with a trough and the induced cyclonic circulation over southwest Rajasthan and the surrounding areas.

In Sabarkantha, Khedbrahma, Himmatnagar, Vijaynagar, Prantij, Idar, and Vadali talukas experienced rain. In Banaskantha district, talukas of Danta, Bhabhar, Vadgam, Deesa, Dantiwada, Tharad, Lakhani, Vav, and Palanpur reported unseasonal rainfall in the 24 hours leading up to Tuesday 6 a.m.

Rainfall was also reported in Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Aravalli, Kutch, Meshana, and Patan districts.

On Monday the Department of Agricultural Meteorology, Dantiwada, issued an impact based forecast for agriculture that stated, "Due to forecast of light rain, farmers are advised to protect their crop and withhold the irrigation and chemical spray in standing crops. Keep young calves indoors during rain."

On Wednesday and Thursday, the lowest temperature is forecast to drop by two to four degrees as a result of the rain.

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