Above: Gangakhed sugar factory from Parbhani Marathwada which has crushed 7 Lakh Tonnes of cane till 21 Feb 2015. Parbhani has received a mere 346 mm rainfall this year, nearly equal to what it received during epic drought of 1972
Although Marathwada region in Maharashtra is no stranger to droughts, it’s facing a singularly acute crisis this year. Kharif crops had failed in all of the 8139 Kharif villages in the region with yields less than 50% of government standards (paisewari). Rabi is under cloud too with all 396 villages assessed for production showing less than 50% yield. And yet, area under and production of water guzzler crop like Sugarcane is going up. In 2013-14, Marathwada grew over 2 lakh hectares of sugarcane and is now crushing the cane in its 61 sugar factories using thousands of lakhs of litres water every day.
Does this make any social, economic or environmental sense? No
But do we have options? It seems so. Let us see how. Continue reading “Thirsty sugarcane in dry Marathwada means a loss of 2 million farmer livelihoods”