Heavy rain caused by Cyclone Gulab damages harvest-ready crop, more claims expected
Scores of farmers from across Maharashtra are trying to register details of crop loss suffered by them — in the wake of their produce being damaged by extremely heavy rain — on the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) app. By September 30, the state government has received 15.67 lakh claims, most of them from Marathwada region.
Preliminary reports by the state Agriculture Department had estimated crop loss over 17.51 lakh hectares due to heavy rain, triggered by the remnant of Cyclone Gulab over the last few days. Nashik, Nandurbar, Jalgaon, Dhule, Ahmednagar, Solapur, Aurangabad, Jalna, Latur, Osmanabad, Nanded, Hingoli, Buldhana, Yavatmal and Akola districts have reported heavy crop loss.
Crops including soyabean, cotton, maize, tur, bajra, urad, onion, grapes, pomegranates and several vegetables have sustained heavy damage. The work of conducting panchnamas to assess the damage is still on, and the final affected area is likely to be higher than the state Agriculture Department’s estimate.
The heavy rain came at a time when farmers were getting ready to harvest their kharif crop. Maharashtra was, in fact, the only state where farmers had reported satisfactory crop condition as the state had received rain at almost regular intervals from the beginning of monsoon. However, the extremely heavy rainfall caused by Cyclone Gulab has upset the otherwise healthy crop cycle.
The Agriculture Department has urged farmers to use the PMFBY app to register their claims. Till late Thursday, the app had received 15.67 lakh claims from farmers for crop loss. Nanded has reported the highest number of claims, 2.69 lakh, followed by Beed (2.63 lakh) and Parbhani (1.54 lakh).
Meanwhile, the arrival of all major crops is expected to be hit as the rains have caused havoc in the fields.
Pradeep Jain, founding president of Khandesh Gin/Press owners and Traders Development Association, said nearly 30 per cent of the cotton crop in north Maharashtra has been damaged.
“Farmers were ready to pick their cotton but the rain has damaged it completely. This flush is destroyed… arrivals will now start only after Dussehra,” he said.
This is the second spell of heavy rain which has struck Maharashtra in the last one month. Revival of the Southwest Monsoon towards the end of August had also led to heavy rainfall, which had damaged crops in 22 districts and across 34.98 lakh hectares.
Farmers’ organisations have urged the state government to release financial assistance immediately and not wait for panchnamas to be done.
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