Cyclone impact weighs heavy on Gujarat farmers

Rutam Vora Ahmedabad | Updated on November 04, 2019 Published on November 04, 2019

About 45 lakh hectares of kharif area in Saurashtra and South Gujarat region face the risk of heavy to very heavy rainfall by November 7 as Cyclone Maha bears in.

Right at the peak of the harvest period, two back to back cyclones in the Arabian Sea have left kharif crops, including groundnut, cotton and paddy vulnerable to massive damage. In Gujarat, a total of about 45 lakh hectares of kharif area in Saurashtra and South Gujarat region face the risk of heavy to very heavy rainfall by November 7 as Cyclone Maha bears in. Last week the same region was hit by unseasonal rain because of Cyclone Kyarr, which eventually headed towards Oman.

The area is a growing region for cotton, groundnut, castor, paddy, and sesamum and, to a lesser extent, pulses.

Groundnut procurement deferred

Considering the climatic adversity, the Gujarat government has deferred its groundnut procurement, which began on November 1. “The unseasonal rains have caused considerable damage to the crops in parts of Gujarat. The Government is assessing the extent of damage and farmers will be given insurance based on the assessment. Since there is yet another cyclonic impact likely due to Maha, the State government has decided to defer groundnut procurement activity till November 15 as many farmers are unable to bring their crops due to rain,” Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had stated on Saturday.

Teams of crop insurers, accompanied by village leaders, farmers, taluka officials and other government agriculture officials, have already initiated damage assessment in the rain-hit districts. “The assessment is on. We can’t comment on the extent of damage as yet because more rains are feared,” said a district agriculture officer in Saurashtra.

However, farmers claimed that the groundnut crop is likely to have sustained 40-45 per cent damage, while the first picking of the cotton crop has been hit due to increased moisture in the fibre.

Cyclone Maha to bring more rain

Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department’s Ahmedabad office has projected more widespread rains for the whole of Gujarat with heavy to very heavy downpours in the Saurashtra and South Gujarat region.

Jayanta Sarkar, regional director, IMD-Ahmedabad, said that Cyclone Maha was on Sunday positioned about 550 km West-South-West of Veraval on the Gujarat coast as a very severe cyclone. “We are expecting it is very likely to hit the Gujarat coast between Diu and Dwarka as a severe cyclonic storm with maximum sustained speed of 110 km per hour gusting to 120 km by November 6 midnight or early morning on November 7. There will be rainfall across the State with heavy to very heavy rainfall in all the districts of the Saurashtra and South Gujarat region," Sarkar said.

Published on November 04, 2019
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