India - Squished by summer gale, banana farmers in Madurai decry loss, appeal for help

14.05.2024 74 views

Much to the anguish of farmers, the summer gale has taken its toll on harvest-ready banana crops across the Madurai district, including the areas of Solavandhan, and Alanganallur among others. While the horticulture department has begun enumeration of crop damage, farmers requested authorities concerned to provide compensation for the crop loss, official sources said.

It may be noted that banana crops are cultivated in around 3,100 hectares of land in Madurai. Earlier, the surge in temperature harmed the crops. Now, with the recent sporadic rainfall and summer gales, a majority of the crops nearing harvest were severely hit, causing massive losses for the farmers.

However, as per an enumeration report released by the horticulture department, though there has not been any major impact due to the summer gale and rainfall, some areas of the district did face issues in the past two months. In Madurai, over 32.40 hectares of banana crops and 0.54 hectares of papaya crops were damaged in the summer gale. Of this, nearly 15 hectares of crop damage was reported in Alanganallur alone. In total, 77 farmers in around 28 villages were affected by the gale, the report stated.

MP Raman, a farmer leader from Madurai, said, "Banana croplands in Alanganallur, Vadipatti, Solavanthan and others suffered damage owing to the summer rains and gale. Every farmer has spent nearly Rs 40,000 per acre for cultivation. With only 20 more days for harvest, a majority of their crops fell prey to the summer gale. The department should carry out an enumeration process in all blocks and provide assistance to the farmers."

He added that according to weather reports, the district is likely to face rainfall in the coming days. "As banana crops are in the harvesting stage, the horticulture department should take action towards creating awareness among farmers regarding the measures to prevent crop damage due to rain and summer gale," Raman said.

When contacted, a senior official from the horticulture department said that around 32 hectares of banana crops were damaged in the summer gale from April-May this year. "After enumeration, the department allotted nearly Rs 5.59 lakh from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) as assistance. The department is closely monitoring similar issues in the district, and measures are being suggested to farmers to reduce crop damages," the official added.

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