.........PHULBANI: Scanty rainfall has raised drought apprehension in tribal-dominated Kandhamal district even as the farmers are eagerly waiting for good rainfall to expedite agricultural activities. Several parts of the district have received below average rainfall this year which has affected farming activities. Less than expected rainfall in July has left the paddy fields dry at some places of the district.
Sources said the district has received 209 mm rainfall against the normal rainfall of 304 mm. However, the Agriculture department said the low lying agricultural fields would not be affected due to scanty rainfall. Out of 127.790 hectares (ha) of cultivable land, 96.298 ha is located in Highlands while only 10.868 ha is in low-lying areas.
Bhabani Sankar Sahu, a farmer of Phirngia block, said deficit rainfall is giving sleepless nights to farmers who are apprehensive of repaying the loans. If it does not rain in the next 15 days, the farmers would be hit hard, he added.
ďA bumper harvest was expected this year but weather played truant and has washed away the hopes of farmers,Ē said the farmer. Deputy Director of Agriculture Bijay Ketan Sahu said the district has received 209 mm rain against 304 mm in July. It canít affect agricultural work in low-lying fields, he added.