Nagpur: The ongoing heat wave that has gripped most parts of Vidarbha has been ravaging orange and mousambi (sweet lemon) crops very badly in Katol Tehsil. Adding to the woes is inadequate irrigation facility as water level as gone down considerably. The summer heat has resulted in drying up of orange and mousambi crops and higher fruit dropping. Though fruit dropping is a natural phenomenon, the drop is minimum if the fruits have crossed lemon size.
On account of extreme weather conditions, the extent of fruit drop is much higher and they dropped at just peanut-size stage. This is expected to result in 40-50 per cent loss of yield. It is the hottest season in the past 13 years. Nagpur oranges are famous across the country and harvested in Katol, Mohpa, Kondhali, Saoner, Narkhed and other parts of Nagpur district. Nagpur oranges and other fruit crops in the Vidarbha region are bearing the brunt of a severe water crisis as bore wells in the region go dry. The current heat spell, coupled with little water, may drastically affect production of some horticulture crops.
The water table has also gone down steeply. Generally, this range of temperature is seen in May-end. Even now the temperature is over 45 degrees Celsius. Such a low water table in the last 25 years is ravaging the orange and mousambi crops badly. It is high time the government develops an orange policy and implements it too, a farmer said.
There is immense water shortage in the agricultural region of Vidarbha with crops on field facing a bleak future. The borewells have either gone dry or are only providing water for a short time during a 24-hour period. Farmers were seen digging up ground from 500 feet to 1000 and 1500 deep for bore wells. But still there is no sign of water. The situation is grim and the farmers are trying hard to save orange and mousambi plantations with whatever means available to them.