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India - Heavy rains, winds in Idukki district damage standing crops

Heavy rains coupled with high-speed wind that lashed different parts of Idukki district in the last four days caused extensive damage to standing crops in nearly 1.26 hectare, agriculture department officials said on Tuesday after preliminary estimates.

Although the heavy rain brought a lot of respite to the people from scorching temperatures which had soared 38 degrees Celsius in several parts of the district, they also caused a lot of misery to the farmers by damaging crops which were almost for harvest. Senior officials of the agriculture and horticultural departments, who reviewed the situation on Tuesday, estimated that standing crops like cardamom and plantain had suffered the most due to heavy downpour and wind in mostly Idukki, Udumbanchola, Devikulam and Peerumade taluks of the district.

“Crops cultivated by 841 farmers across various taluks of the district, which was ready for harvesting, has been reported to be damaged. Similarly, cash crops like pepper also suffered heavy damages in the heavy rain. The other crops that were damaged are mostly of plantains which were cultivated by farmers in view of the coming onam season, besides vegetables,” they said.”

“Officials had been instructed to assess the quantum of crop damage. More rains and wind are expected in the next 48 hours also, as per the forecast of the meteorological department. Once the rains subside, we will be able to assess the actual damage. If there are no further rains, there is also a possibility of recovery of crops which are partially inundated in the rain water, so that the loss could come down,” an official concerning the agriculture department said.

Kanthalloor not much affected by heavy rain but Marayur grieve

Even as huge crop damage destructions have been reported from various parts of the district, the farmers in Kanthalloor, the vegetable bowl of the district and the only winter vegetable and fruit growing centre in Kerala, are not much affected by the heavy rain. Kanthalloor agriculture officer Kovinda Raj told the Express, except minor damages to garlic and cabbage, no vast destruction has been caused in the area. “No application for compensation for crop damage has yet been received in the office. However, we will conduct a field visit to check the present situation of the crops,” he said.

Sivakumar, a farmer at Keezhanthoor said except few garlics damaged, all our crops remain well till now. “Horticorp has started procuring the vegetables, hence we are relieved from the issue of vegetables rotting away in the farms,” he said. Majority of the farmers in Kanthalloor have cleared their fields and had sown seeds in view of the coming big Onam season. “There was a drought during the first sowing season this year. However south west monsoon has brought enough water in ponds and lakes and we hope the crops would thrive well in the coming days,” he said.

On the contrary, heavy rain has dealt with a blow to the sugarcane farmers in Marayur. Hectares of sugarcane were destructed in the heavy rain that has been lashing in the district for the past four days. As a result jaggery production, the main occupation of the residents of the Marayur Panchyath, too had been affected.

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