Karnataka facing green drought: Minister
The State government has urged the Centre’s drought review committee to examine the impact of rainfall scarcity on agriculture rather than arriving at a conclusion based on standing crops as it begins its tour of 13 drought-affected districts in Karnataka.
What is known as ‘Green drought ‘?
A “green drought” is a term that refers to a special form of drought that affects agricultural areas. It is distinguished by the presence of some green foliage and standing crops in the affected area, but the general health and productivity of the crops are badly harmed due to insufficient or inconsistent rainfall.
What are the features of the Green drought?
- Limited Rainfall: A green drought occurs when there is a notable shortage of appropriate rainfall over an extended period, which is required for crop growth and development.
- Green Vegetation: Despite the lack of rainfall, some green vegetation may still exist. This can be deceiving because it may appear like the area is not suffering from drought at first glance.
- Reduced Crop Yield: The primary effect of a green drought is reduced crop yield. While crops may have been sown and appear healthy at first, a lack of continuous and enough rainfall results in stunted development and poorer output.
- Recovery Chance: Green Droughts Often Leave Little to No Opportunity for Recovery: Unlike other types of drought, where recovery may be possible if rainfall improves, a green drought frequently leaves little to no opportunity for recovery. Crop yield potential is greatly reduced when critical growth stages are disrupted.
- Economic impact: Green droughts can have serious economic effects on farmers and the agriculture sector. Crop yield reductions can result in revenue loss, food poverty, and increased financial stress for farming communities.
- Challenges for the farmers: Farmers encounter challenges due to crop failure or lower yields, which can have an impact on their livelihoods and necessitate further support and assistance.
Why is Karnatka facing Green Drought?
- Rainfall Shortage: One of the key causes of the green drought is a lack of rainfall. Karnataka has had a large rainfall shortfall, resulting in water scarcity and drought conditions in several sections of the state. This shortage has impacted crop water availability.
- Irregular Rainfall Patterns: Even when rain does fall, it is irregular and inconsistent. This means that, while there may be a few showers, they are insufficient to keep crops moist during their growth cycle.
- Delayed or insufficient monsoon: Karnataka, like many other Indian states, is significantly reliant on the monsoon season for agricultural water supply. Water stress in crops during critical growth phases can be caused by delayed or insufficient monsoon rains.
- Climate Change: Climate change has been related to changes in rainfall patterns and an increased likelihood of extreme weather events such as droughts. Karnataka’s climate may be changing, which is contributing to the current green drought.
- Water Management Issues: Inefficient water management methods, such as excessive groundwater extraction, can exacerbate drought conditions. Excessive irrigation of groundwater can deplete aquifers and exacerbate water scarcity.
What is the estimated loss in Karnataka due to the Green Drought?
- The drought-related agricultural losses in Karnataka have been estimated at Rs. 30,432 crore by the state government.
- The state expects the Centre to compensate it for around 4,860 crore in losses.
What are ways in which we can prevent green droughts?
- Water Management and Conservation:
- To reduce water waste, use efficient irrigation systems such as drip or spray irrigation.
- Encourage rainwater collecting to collect and store rainwater for agricultural use.
- Encourage irrigation with recycled treated wastewater.
- Improving Soil Health:
- To improve soil fertility and water-holding capacity, implement soil conservation methods such as crop rotation and cover cropping.
- Reduce soil erosion by using techniques such as contour farming and terracing.
- Crop diversification and selection:
- Encourage the cultivation of drought-tolerant crop varieties and plant species.
- Crop diversification reduces reliance on a single crop, making the agricultural system more adaptable to dry spells.
- Dryland Farming Methods:
- Encourage the use of dryland farming practices, which are ideal for places with low water resources.
- Agriculture that is Climate-Resilient:
- Encourage climate-smart agriculture techniques that consider shifting weather patterns and adjust crop and livestock management accordingly.