WITH rain refusing to relent in the last two days, Marathwada, which is facing unprecedented flood-like situation, has suffered a massive crop damage. According to initial official estimates, crop worth over Rs 500 crore has been damaged in at least three districts of Latur, Beed and Osmanabad, which had been under a severe grip of drought till recently for the fourth consecutive year.
Reflecting wider coverage of the recently launched Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bhima Yojana (PMFBY), the total sum insured for the kharif 2016 crops has increased by over 70 per cent to Rs 1.18 lakh crore. In the 2015 kharif season (summer), total sum insured was only Rs 69,360 crore under the previous crop insurance scheme. As per the official data, as many as 3.15 crore farmers took advantage of the PMFBY in the just completed 2016-17 kharif season, against 3.09 crore farmers in the same season last year.
More than 35% of farmers in Bareilly district have taken a loan under Kisan Credit Card (KCC) for cultivating sugarcane but have sown paddy or wheat instead. Agriculture officials said as there is no provision of filling separate forms under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, if any calamity happens and affects the crops, these farmers will not get any cover under the insurance scheme. In Bareilly district, there are more than four lakh farmers and as many as 68,000 of them are covered under the crop insurance scheme.
Maize, pulses and chilli crops in Atmakur sub-division and three mandals of Srisailam constituency, spread over 10,000 hectares, suffered extensive damage following heavy rain that lashed the area. The chilli crop was ready for harvesting. Officials estimate the loss at Rs 30 crore. Commercial crops in 17,500 hectares during the kharif season so far have been submerged. Commercial crops were damaged in Atmakur, Pamulapadu, Kothapalli, Mahanandi, Bandi Atmakur and Velugodu mandals.
Incessant rains for the past few days have resulted in crop damage in large areas in Medak district. As on Monday, agricultural officers have estimated that about 22,619 hectares of Kharif crop has been damaged due to heavy rains. Worst affected are cotton farmers with a crop damage to an extent of 11,387 hectares; 6,451 hectares of soya bean, 2,622 hectares of paddy, 597 hectares of maize and 1,350 hectares of red gram have been estimated to have been damaged.
The heavy rains in the last few days have left the farmers of Ichhapuram region of Srikakulam district high and dry, with paddy crops in around 600 hectares have been inundated. With the officials lifting the gates of reservoirs as a precautionary measure to prevent flood, the canal water has swelled up on to the fields. The agriculture authorities has deployed drones to assess the severity of possible crop loss.
A joint crop loss survey by officials of the Revenue, Agriculture and Horticulture Departments has begun in the district in the wake of monsoon failure. Major crops such as paddy, hybrid maize, ragi, jowar, toor dal, cowpea, groundnut, and cotton have withered in most parts of the district. The survey has been initiated by the district administration to assess the exact extent of crop loss owing to failure of rains.
Elephant herds have gone on a rampage in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj and Sonepur distrcts causing extensive damage to property and agricultural fields. The marauding pachyderms numbering around 70— that have sneaked into Baripada forest range in Mayurbhanj district— have damaged the standing paddy and maize crops in Badasul and Bhatachhatar villages of Moroda reserve forest under Rasgobindpur range in the district.
Citizens in the city heaved a sigh of relief as rains slowed down after the two-week long spell. The rains not only disrupted day-to-day life, but also cause huge losses to agriculture and core sectors in the state economy. The MET department attributed the recent rains to the low pressure area over Vidarbha and adjoining North Telangana region. Though low pressure is weakening, monsoon is active.
The Centre has formulated a scheme to insure farmers for crop losses, Union Agriculture Minister said today . The scheme has been formulated to ensure compensation for crop loss of farmers through the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojana within a month, Minister said when asked how his ministry plans to tackle farmers suicide.
The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) was launched with much ado in the beginning of this year. However, it seems the initiative is turning out to be quite the non-starter. According to the data accessed exclusively from the Union Agriculture Ministry, only 2.53 crore farmers have insured their crops under the scheme this year. A large number of these farmers are those who have taken loans.
Prime Minister ambitious crop insurance scheme that promised lowest premia for farmers seems to have started on a slow note in 2016 kharif season, partly due to delayed notification by states. Some experts said the decision to keep sugarcane out of the scheme’s ambit may have impacted its coverage in states like Uttar Pradesh.
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