Agri Business

Unseasonal showers sweep away kharif crop; leaves Maharashtra farmers in tears

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on November 01, 2019 Published on November 01, 2019

According to the preliminary estimates, crop standing on over 54 lakh hectares —has been damaged by unseasonal rains

Farmers across the State are knocking at the doors of agriculture department offices, seeking immediate help and compensation for the crop damage caused by unseasonal rains.

Many parts of the State witnessed heavy downpour in October, damaging the kharif crop. Though the State government has not yet estimated the losses, farmers claim that almost half of the kharif cultivation has been damaged by rains. The State has 149.74 lakh hectares of land under kharif cultivation (including sugarcane) and, by September, sowing on over 93 per cent of land was completed.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told a news agency that crop standing over 54 lakh hectare has been damaged due to unseasonal rains. 

Extent of crop loss

Rains and flooding had already damaged the crops on 4,12,212.80 lakh hectares by the end of September as per the State Agriculture Department’s preliminary estimates. However, the damage caused by excess rains in October could be much more. According to unofficial preliminary estimates, crop standing on over 13 lakh hectares – worth ₹8,000 crore – in 16 districts of the State has been damaged by unseasonal rains.

In the drought-hit Marathwada and Vidarbha regions, unseasonal rains in the last week of October completely damaged soybean, cotton, banana and sugarcane crops. According to farmers, cases of farmer suicides might rise in the region.

CM Fadnavis said that Aurangabad division has suffered massively with crop on 22 lakh hectare damaged due to rains. In Vidarbha’s Amravati division 12 lakh hectare land has been affected. 

“The situation is grave. Massive rains have destroyed standing crops and the farmers are in deep trouble. The government should show urgency in helping us,” said Fakirba Bangale, a farmer from Buldhana, whose soya crop was ruined. He added that the new government should rescue the farmers from the crisis.

In the sugar belt of western Maharashtra, vineyards, vegetables, bajra and rice cultivation were reportedly damaged. Rains could also affect the launch of crushing season as cane cutting would not be possible in inundated fields.

The Nashik region, known for grape cultivation, has suffered heavily in the October rains. Vineyards in over 2 lakh hectares might have been affected, according to preliminary estimates. In north Maharashtra, hailstorm has damaged orange and lemon cultivation. In the Konkan region, about 30 per cent of rice crop was destroyed by unseasonal rains.

CM Fadnavis told the news agency that he has ordered Chief Secretary and government officials to speed up damage assessment process so that farmers get immediate help. He will also address cabinet sub committee meeting on Saturday to discuss losses. Fadnavis said that he had discussions with insurance companies and have asked them to ensure that farmers get compensation without any delay. 

Farmers agitated

Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) President Raju Shetti said the farmers who applied for insurance would not get any compensation till the damage assessment is completed. Shetti told the media that SSS would launch a Statewide agitation if farmers did not get relief by November 5.

Farmers took out marches in Buldhana and Aurnagabad to draw the government’s attention to the crop loss. The Vidarbha Andolan Samiti has demanded that the government announce wet drought in Maharashtra.

While the political leadership is busy working out a formula to form the new government and the bureaucracy still in Diwali vacation mood, thousands of farmers lined up before government offices across the State to seek compensation for the crop loss.

As the simmering anger among farmers echoed through the power corridors of Mumbai, the Shiv Sena leaders to meet the Governor and demand immediate relief for farmers. Sena has demanded that the Governor announce wet drought in Maharashtra. The Congress and NCP leaders plan to visit the affected areas.

 

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Published on November 01, 2019
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