Agri Business

Sesame seed, pulses at stake as Cyclone Tauktae heads for Gujarat coast

Rutam Vora Ahmedabad | Updated on May 16, 2021

Area under coarse cereals jumped by 28 per cent to 9.5 lakh ha in the ongoing summer planting season   -  Businessline

Saurashtra to face the wrath of winds speeding at 155-175 kmph following cyclone

As Gujarat braces itself for the impact of Tauktae, farmers in the State are staring at severe damage to harvested and ready-to-harvest summer crops owing to a severe cyclonic storm - currently centered about 700 kilometers south-southeast of Veraval (Gujarat).

The Met Department has warned of damage to coastal crops. The coastal districts of Saurashtra mostly grow sesame, gram, millet and groundnut.

Farmer sources expressed concerns over likely damages to crops such as sesame seeds, grams (moong) and pearl millets (bajra) due to the storm and the rains that would follow.

Gujarat has witnessed robust summer crop sowing on the back of increased water availability following good monsoon last year. The area covered under sesame seed stood at nearly 97,799 hectares - a steep jump of 315 per cent over normal acreage of 31,014 hectares.

"Much is at stake for the sesame seed and moong growers as they were anticipating good crop and better returns as the area has also increased. Some early-sown sesame seed is under harvest, which will face the risk of damage due to the storm," Ramesh Bhorania, a farmer from Rajkot district informed.

The largest grown summer crop - bajra was on 2,71,353 hectares, which is about 8 per cent more than normal sowing of 2,49,406 hectares.

 

In its cyclone alert morning of May 16, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast the cyclone to intensify in the next 24 hours and likely to reach Gujarat coast in the evening hours of May 17. It will hit the coast between Mahuva in Bhavnagar district and Porbandar early on May 18. The maximum sustained surface wind speed is estimated to be 150-160 kmph gusting to 175 kmph for the Saurashtra region.

The rainfall warning indicated light to moderate rainfall at many places over coastal districts of Saurashtra from May 16 afternoon. The rains may intensify to heavy to very heavy and extremely heavy falls at isolated places over Saurashtra & Kutch and Diu at isolated places on May 17 -18.

"We don't see much impact to groundnut crop as it is the long-duration crop and rains during the cyclone will only add to the required moisture. But the big worry is for sesame, gram and millet. Some crop is harvested lying either on the fields or at farmers' storages, which are also vulnerable to the stormy winds," a district agriculture official posted in the region informed.

Saurashtra has about 93 per cent of the State's total sesame seed cultivation area at 91,600 hectares, while at 38,200 hectares it has over 64 per cent of the State's gram acreage.

The State authorities have deployed disaster management teams to the districts likely to face the impact of Tauktae. A total of 24 teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and six teams from State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), teams from Border Security Force (BSF) along with local fire department teams have been deployed on the coastal districts of Gujarat.

 

ICU ambulances and emergency services are being chennelised to be kept on stand-by for the districts of Jamnagar, Junagadh, Rajkot and Kutch.

Fishermen have been advised against venturing into the sea. The boats that were already in the sea, have been asked to return.

The State’s Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Saturday convened a meeting of senior officials and ministers to prepare effective rescue plan to prevent any casualties. The Covid-19 patients admitted in the hospitals along the coast will be shifted to nearby district headquarter as a measure of caution.

Published on May 16, 2021

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