Heavy untimely rains hit 54 lakh hectare of crops in Maharashtra

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A vegetable seller at work in Mumbai, as monsoon rains drench India's commercial capital

Preliminary estimates by the agriculture department of Maharashtra reveal that standing crop spread over 54 lakh hectare has been damaged by the unseasonal rains. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has directed officials to conduct Panchanamas so that the government can assess the total damage and consider compensation for farmers.

Farmers have demanded immediate Panchnamas to help them avail insurance for their crops and are seeking immediate help, compensation for the crop damage caused by unseasonal rains.

Although the state government has not estimated the losses, farmers claim almost half of the kharif cultivation has been damaged by rains. The state has 149.74 lakh hectare under kharif cultivation (including sugarcane) and by September, sowing on over 93 per cent of land had been completed.

Minister of State for agriculture and marketing Sadabhau Khot said directives had been issued for conducting damage assessment process and a meeting has been called by the chief minister on Saturday to discuss losses.

Senior department officials told Financial Express that some 325 talukas in 34 districts of the state have been affected by the incessant rains in October. While the Panchanamas are yet to be conducted, officials have pegged losses at nearly Rs 4,000 crore to Rs 5,000 crore. Marathwada region had been affected the most, senior officials revealed.

Unseasonal rains in the last week of October completely damaged soyabean, maize cotton, banana and sugarcane crops and rice in Konkan region, and grapes in Nashik district. Rains and flooding had already damaged the crops on 4,12,212.80 lakh hectares by the end of September.

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. In western Maharashtra. Vineyards, vegetables, bajra and rice cultivation were reportedly damaged. Nashik region, known for grape cultivation and onions has also suffered. Vineyards in over 2 lakh hectare might have been affected. In north Maharashtra. Hailstorm has damaged orange and lemon cultivation as well. In the Konkan region, about 30 to 40 per cent of rice crop was destroyed by unseasonal rains.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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