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Delayed monsoon spells trouble for potato growers in Hassan, Karnataka

Delayed monsoon trouble for potato growers in Hassan, Karnataka

A potato field in Hassan, Karnataka. The pictures was taken mid July in 2009.

June 18, 2016
The delay in monsoon has left potato growers of Hassan (Karnataka, India) in distress. Farmers, who started sowing operations by the end of May, had to wait until the end of June first week to begin cultivation. They waited for weeks keeping the land prepared.

Around 80,000 quintals of non-certified seeds, supplied by merchants in Punjab, and 2,065 tonnes of certified seeds provided by the National Seed Corporation have been purchased by farmers in the district. While the certified potato seeds were priced at Rs. 27 a kg, the non-certified seeds were sold at up to Rs. 17 a kg. The State government gave Rs. 10 subsidy per kg of certified seeds.

Ninge Gowda, a potato grower of Belavadi in Arkalgud taluk:

“Normally, we keep the seeds procured in open air for 15 days before sowing. This time, we waited long because of delayed monsoon. We sowed the seeds soon after the first monsoon showers last week. From then on, there have been no rains.”

“If it does not rain for a few more days, our seeds will start decaying, causing huge loss.”
Hassan district received an average rainfall of 45.36 mm since June 1. In the first week of this month, up to June 7, the district received an average of 25 mm rainfall, which is 6 per cent less than the normal expected for the duration.

B. Suma, Deputy Director of Horticulture Department, on Wednesday:

“Seed potatoes are sown between May 15 and June 15, depending on rainfall. Farmers keep the land ready and start cultivation soon after the rains.”

“As there were no pre-monsoon rains this year, farmers had to wait.”
She added that late sowing might end up the crop attracting late blight disease.

“If it rains heavily in July, plants become vulnerable to late blight,”
Potato is one among the cash crops cultivated by many farmers in Hassan. In the last five to six years, the yield in potato fields has come down drastically due to late blight, a fungal infection.

Karnataka

Ranked #8 among potato producing states in India, Karnataka produced 689 thousand tonnes of potatoes (2012/2013) or 1.56% of the total Indian production. Potato Yields in Karnataka are low, but the state produces off-season potatoes suitable for processing.

Hassan is the largest potato producing district in the State accounting for 20% production and 56% crop area in Karnataka.
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