A cyclone which passed through Malda, India has severely affected mango, litchi orchards and food grain. The cyclone also damaged around 6,000 houses and uprooted electric poles leaving no electricity in large parts of the district until the afternoon. The district administration started distribution of relief goods in the affected blocks. According to the locals, the cyclone struck around 3 am and wrought havoc within 15-20 minutes.
Despite 100 per cent crop loss in the district following the failure of north east monsoon, four farmers won the appreciation of the district administration for helping the agriculture department with production of quality seeds of paddy, minor millets and oil seeds in their seed farms. There were 260 seed farm farmers in the district and they played a major role in distributing quality seeds to the farmers through the department by producing quality seeds in their farms, following guidelines and adapting new technologies.
The state government has been tom-tomming its ‘kisan hiteshi’ (pro-farmer) policies and repeating ad nauseam that it is committed to making agriculture profitable and to doubling the income of the farmers over the next five years. However, its actions do not seem to match its words. Given that agriculture is a high-risk venture, due to frequent droughts, excessive rains and pest attacks, crop insurance can act as bulwark for the farmers.
With the State facing the worst drought in the past 115 years, the Government of Kerala asks the Centre to release a relief assistance of close to Rs 1,000 crore. Kerala Ministers are expected to meet Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare Radha Mohan Singh and others on March 28. "Apart from a huge loss in agriculture, there were costs in terms of water supply and others. We have estimated the loss to the tune of close to Rs 1,000 crore and we are asking assistance from the centre," E Chandrasekharan, Minister for Revenue and Housing told Business Standard.
Congress leader and Vadakara MP, Mullappally Ramachandran has urged the Centre to allocate Rs. 1,000 crore from the National Disaster Relief Fund to meet the drought situation in the State. Moving a submission in the Lok sabha on Thursday, Mr. Ramachandran said the Centre should step in to save the State from a disastrous situation. The reservoirs have only 40% water and the groundwater level has dropped by 2 m to 4 m.
There is likely to be a shortage of the most preferred mango variety Alphonso this season. Kadregowda, managing director, Karnataka State Mango Development and Marketing Corporation Ltd (KSMDMCL), during a media interaction on Tuesday, said the sudden rainfall in February and March has destroyed the Alphonso crop in parts of north Karnataka. The shortage is expected to hurt not only the local market but also exports.
The Maharashtra government has made Aadhaar mandatory to farmers for availing crop insurance schemes from the next Kharif season. "From the next Kharif season starting in June, farmers will have to produce their Aadhaar number to avail crop insurance schemes," an official communication from the state Agriculture Department said. The insurance scheme is applicable to food grain and horticulture sectors, it added.
Claiming that the horticulture crop growers in the state, reeling under drought, have suffered crop losses, the opposition DMK urged the state government to announce a relief package. Raising the issue in the Assembly on Tuesday DMK whip R. Chakrapani, claimed the horticulture crop growers in several districts could not get compensation as some of the horticulture crops were excluded in the list of crops for providing relief.
The Maharashtra government has made Aadhaar mandatory to farmers for availing crop insurance schemes from the next Kharif season. "From the next Kharif season starting in June, farmers will have to produce their Aadhaar number to avail crop insurance schemes," an official communication from the state Agriculture Department said.
There seems to be no end to the woes of horticulture farmers, mainly grape growers. Already dealing with the consequences of successive droughts, they are facing another calamity – untimely rains. The unseasoned rain, coupled with gusty winds, that the district witnessed in the last two days has caused substantial damage to the standing grape crop.
Farmers will get six times more compensation for crop damage based on the type of crop, Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar said. The scheme will be implemented from next agriculture season. The order increasing the crop damage compensation will be issued next week, the Minister said while inaugurating the harvest festival at Avala Pandi in Cheruvannur of Kozhikode district.
TRS Lok Sabha MP K Vishweshwar Reddy on Thursday demanded that the Central government ease the crop insurance policy to facilitate more small and marginal farmers. Speaking in the Lok Sabha during question hour, he said till now one-crop and three-crop farmers were treated the same when it came to settling claims.
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