Hailstorms, rain damage key Maharashtra crops prospects

Our Bureau Pune | Updated on February 19, 2021

Onion prices top ₹4,000 in Nashik on weather impact

Standing rabi crops — mainly onion, wheat and jowar — have been affected by unseasonal rains and hailstorms in parts of Maharashtra during the last two days.

Vineyard in Sangli and Nashik districts have suffered extensive damage, while onion seed plots in Jalna were completely damaged, growers said.

The damage to onion and onion seed plots comes at a time when the late Kharif onion crop is due for harvest. This follows unseasonal rains last month with Nashik district receiving 8 mm of rainfall and affecting the crop.

The January rainfall has resulted in onion prices increasing over the last two weeks.

The rains in the last two days resulted in onion modal prices (rates at which most trades took place) topping ₹4,000 a quintal in Nashik district, the hub of the kitchen staple’s trade, on Friday.

According to the farmers, in Tasgaon (Sangli), vineyards were heavily damaged while in Vidarbha region, orange and mosambi plantation was damaged.

Grape cultivators in Nashik feared that the quality of grapes could be affected due to unseasonal rains. In the Konkan region, budding mango flowers have been damaged in many parts.

Significant damage to rabi cultivation was reported from the Marathwada region.In Nanded, turmeric farmers said that the majority of the crop was destroyed because of a hailstorm.

Government officials said that the State government was assessing the damage and district officials would soon submit their assessment. In Maharashtra, over 59 lakh hectares of land are under rabi cultivation this year.

According to the State Agriculture Department, wheat and jowar crops were ready for harvest and in some places, harvesting has already begun.

In October last year, heavy rains damaged the Kharif crops. The State government estimated that Kharif crops spread over 50 lakh hectare were damaged.

Cotton and soyabean, major Kharif crops in Marathwada and Vidarbha regions, were the most affected.

“Series of lockdowns, unseasonal rains during Kharif and now rains and hailstorms are dampeners. Farmers are completely broken down. We were expecting good returns in the Rabi season, but now we hope to recover at least the cultivation cost,” said Baba Sawat, a farmer from Sangli.

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Published on February 19, 2021
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