Phethai ravages paddy ready for harvest in AP

Ch.R.S Sarma Visakhapatnam | Updated on December 19, 2018 Published on December 19, 2018

A farmer tries to drain his paddy field hit by cyclone Phethai   -  PTI

Phethai cyclone, which hit the AP coast on Monday near Kakinada in East Godavari district, caused extensively damaged the crops in East and West Godavari districts, Krishna and Guntur and on a lesser scale in the north coastal districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam, according to official sources.

State agriculture department officials said the waters are receding from the fields in many places and a final, and a more accurate, assessment of crop damage will take a few days more.

As of now, it is estimated that crops on 60,000 to 70,000 acres may have been hit, with paddy accounting for about half the damage. It could be higher. Paddy crop was more affected in the Krishna delta than even in the Godavari delta, even though the cyclone crossed the coast in East Godavari, according to some reports.

Kharif paddy crop was in the harvesting stage in both Krishna and Godavari deltas, when the cyclone alert came, and the farmers and officials did their best to save the standing crop by deploying crop harvesters as adequate labour was not available to do it in a hurry. The harvested crop was kept in the fields and covered by sheets. But in many places the crop could not be harvested because there were not enough harvesters.

In some parts of East Godavari district, paddy nurseries for the rabi season were badly damaged.

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said that in recent years the State is facing cyclone attacks either in October or December and therefore the paddy crop schedule should be so planned as to complete the harvesting by the first or the second week of November. “Perhaps, we can minimise the damage then,” he remarked at a review meeting.

After paddy, over 18,000 acres of maize was badly damaged and virginia tobacco in 3,000-3,500 acres was also hit. Coconut crop in the Konaseema area of East Godavari and other areas was also hit, but not as badly as when Titli cyclone hit Srikakulam district recently.

The Chief Minister promised compensation to farmers, as soon as the assessment is completed.

According to State Agriculture Minister S Chandramohan Reddy, the total damage to the crops may be to the tune of ₹250 crores, with paddy being the worst-hit.

Published on December 19, 2018
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