COVID-19 fails to affect kharif sowing in Karnataka

Bengaluru: There seems no impact of COVID-19 on kharif crop sowing in Karnataka with the current year actually being ahead of previous years, according to an official here on Monday.

“In agriculture, as far as sowing is concerned, there is no impact of COVID-19,” Agriculture Commissioner Brijesh Kumar Dikshit said. One of the reasons, according to Dikshit, is that people in rural areas are aware, but not scared of the pandemic.

“In rural India, coronavirus is there. People are aware, not scared. They are taking precautions, but don’t have any phobia,” he said. Another reason was that by June the number of infections in Karnataka was not as high as other states, when a lot of sowing was done, he said.

By the end of June, Karnataka saw 15,242 Covid-19 cases. Of that, 7,074 were active.

The sowing is ahead of previous year as it’s mostly dependent on weather. “It’s ahead of previous years. Agriculture is directed by weather and rains had been slightly earlier this year,” he said.

According to Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre, at 185 mm the state received 14 mm less rain in June against the normal 199 mm. “It’s like a normal year, or slightly a good year,” he said.

Some crops will be sown in the last fortnight of July and few more will extend up to August 15. “The last two weeks will be critical and on July 31 we should be able to tell whether we are short or ahead,” he said.

According to preliminary indications, the Commissioner said the area under agriculture is increasing this year, which could also be because that labourers might have come back.