Drought adds to farmers' woes in Uttar Pradesh

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Unnao (UP), Sep 5 (ANI): Drought has hit hard the farmers of Uttar Pradesh's Unnao district.

The fear of people dying of starvation looms large as farmers have been either unable to sow their crops on time due to inadequate rainfall or the sown crops have dried in the fields.

"The rain has been almost negligible. It was equivalent to not raining. All our crops maize, oilseeds, black gram is destroyed, it has all dried," said Ashok Pandit, a farmer.

The crops stand completely destroyed and there is severe shortage of the cattle fodder.

The farmers are worried about how to repay their debts to the banks or private landowners.

"The farmers had a lot of hopes, they had even taken loans from the bank, got their farmer credit cards, they had borrowed money, they prepared to sow their crops, they sowed but it all dried in the farmlands as it did not rain. Millets. Maize, feed for cattle, paddy, everything is destroyed.

Farmers and their cattle will suffer. The crops have all dried in the fields and the banks and private moneylenders are all waiting to get their money back," said Anil Trivedi, village head.

Monsoon rains are vital for India's summer-sown crops such as rice, sugarcane and soybeans because the majority of the farmers do not have access to irrigation facilities. The four-month (June-September) monsoon is the main source for irrigation in the country's vast stretches of farmland.

India's June-August rains were almost a quarter less than normal, the driest spell in near four decades, and has hurt summer-sown crops and driven up food price by 14.5 percent. (ANI)

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