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Unseasonal Rainfall Causes Severe Crop Damage Across States

In Maharashtra, crops standing on over 17 lakh hectares of farmland got damaged in this Kharif season, say estimates.
Unseasonal Rainfall Causes Severe Crop Damage Across States

Image Courtesy: Deccan Chronicle

Uneven and unseasonal rainfall has caused massive crop damage intensifying agrarian distress again in the Kharif season. While the central and state governments are yet to estimate the collateral loss across the country, farmers' unions are urging lawmakers to immediately take necessary damage control steps before it is too late.

According to newspaper reports, the incessant rainfall has caused extensive crop damage across states including Telangana, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka.

Recent un-seasonal rainfall in Telangana has caused crop damage in 1.20 lakh acres, affecting about 56,000 farmers, according to preliminary estimates by the state’s agriculture department. The government assessment found that paddy crop in about 80,447 acres was damaged, followed by cotton in 35,610 acres due to excess rainfall. Maize (makka) crop in 4,022 acres was reportedly damaged. Effectively, crop damage was spread across 142 mandals. District-wise, Suryapet, Karimnagar, peddapalli and Nizamabad are the most affected in the state.

Even farmers insured under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) scheme cannot get their loss covered, says Saianna of Telangana Raitanga Samithi. Speaking to NewsClick, he said: “Under PMFBY scheme, in Telangana, insurance amount is calculated taking mandal as unit. This approach fails to compensate all the affected farmers as the rainfall was highly uneven across and within the mandals. For instance, within a mandal, some parts received heavy rainfall in comparison to other parts of the same mandal.” Instead of considering mandal as a unit, insurance must be given taking farmer or village as a unit for justified compensation, says Saianna.

In October, Maharashtra was hit by unseasonal heavy rainfall severely affecting harvested crops. According to the unofficial preliminary estimates, crop standing on over 13 lakh hectare worth Rs 8000 crore in 16 districts of the state has been damaged by unseasonal rains.

As per Maharasthra’s Agriculture Department assessments, crops on 4.12 lakh hectares had already damaged due to rain and floods by the end of September.

According to reports, in the state’s drought-prone Marathwada and Vidarbha regions, unseasonal rains in the last week of October completely damaged soybean, cotton, banana and sugarcane crops. Reportedly, farmers are queuing in front of the district agriculture department offices, seeking immediate support for the crop damage.

In Gujarat, the recent cyclone Kyarr that caused heavy rainfall in October has severely impacted crops in the harvesting season causing hardships to the farmers. Estimatedly, the crop damage is spread across 18 districts in the state and the government has announced that a survey will be conducted along with insurance companies to estimate the damage.

Incessant rainfall in Karnataka has caused extensive damage to tomato and potato crops resulting in surge in prices and low supply of the produce in neighbouring state Goa's markets. Currently, Tomatoes and potatoes are priced at Rs 60 and Rs 40 per kilo respectively.

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