Covid-19 hits Betel leaf and litchi farmers in Muzaffarpur as well as tea farmers in Bihar’s Kishanganj

Betel leaf (Paan leaf) farmers in Muzaffarpur, Bihar are facing losses due to the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Some farmers told news agency, ANI that they are facing problems as there is shortage of labour and they are not able to send their produce to the market due to the lack of transport facilities.

The markets are closed due to the lockdown. And the traders are not buying as they are unable to sell paan during the lockdown. Further untimely rainfall and hailstorm have destroyed crops and worsened the situation for farmers in the region.

Apart from betel leaf farmers, Litchi growers are also staring at huge losses as traders across the country are unable to make their way to Muzaffarpur to purchase the fruit.

The nationwide lockdown forced by the coronavirus pandemic has also adversely affected tea farmers in Bihar’s Kishanganj district as the crops have dried in the absence of workers to harvest them.

“The government while imposing the national lockdown did not even think about the situation the tea farmers would be in. What’s worse is that the government has not even provided any relief to the farmers. The farmers are already suffering due to the lockdown as also the industrialists,” said Manish Kumar Jalan, one of the factory owners while speaking to ANI.

Another farmer said that the lockdown was imposed at a time when the tea leaves were supposed to be harvested.

It is estimated that close to Rs 40 lakh worth of damage has been incurred amid the lockdown. The government has extended the nationwide lockdown till May 3.

Shekhar Ghosh is a communications consultant and and former journalist, who has edited and written for publications such as like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today and Outlook.

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