Kathura: The farmer walks past muddy fields of stunted sugarcane and damaged rice paddies as a light drizzle falls. "Too late, too late," he says of the rains he has been praying for since many weeks ago.
For nearly two months, Satyavan Narwal's eyes scoured the heavens looking for the monsoon rains that would nourish his crops, but he found nothing and was left with parched earth. Now monsoon showers are soaking the fields — but late August is much too late for him.
This year's fickle monsoon has played havoc with millions of farmers. The showers, which normally run from June to September, are crucial in a country where 60 per cent of the population works in agriculture and less than half the farmland is irrigated.
"Here farming is entirely on God's mercy. If nature doesn't bless us, the farmer can't do anything," Narwal says.
The Meteorological Department has said it expects the country to get at least 10 percent less rain this year than during a normal monsoon, but large parts of the country have been hit much harder.
Text and Images: AP
Image: In this Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012 photo, an Indian farmer Satyavan Narwal gestures to a parched pond that would usually provide drinking water for cattle in Kathura village, in Haryana.