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India - Kerala losses may cross Rs 1356 crore

The devastating floods that have left a trail of destruction will cripple the state’s agriculture production in a major way in the current year, especially rice. As per the primary analysis by the the state agriculture department, around 56,844.44 ha of cropped area has been affected by the floods, causing a loss of Rs 1355.68 crore to 3.14 lakh farmers.

Justin Mohan, director, Agriculture Department, said this is only an indicative loss, and that the actual loss will be very high as the majority of the affected farmers are still languishing in flood relief camps. As per the norms, the farmers who lost their crops have to report directly to the agriculture office to avail the benefits of crop damage.

Among the major crops, paddy and banana were the worst hit by the flood with 26,106 and 6,348 ha of crop damaged in the flood, respectively.Apart from damaging paddy at 26,106 ha of land, the flood has upset or delayed the farming activities in major rice production districts like Alappuzha, Thrissur and Palakkad, which is expected to bring down the annual paddy production in the state.

Agriculture economist P Indiradevi of Kerala Agriculture University said the loss estimated by the current system is incapable of fathoming the depth of the actual loss. For instance, the department is assessing only crop loss. But various sectors are directly and indirectly linked to the agriculture sector and the present system has no mechanism to assess the ripple effects of the crop loss in other related sectors, she said.

Further,  the loss incurred by the farming sector in terms of fertility loss in high-range areas, damage to implements, storage facilities, logistics, etc. have to be included within the scope of the current loss-assessing system to avail maximum benefit for the farmers.

Interestingly, out of the Rs 1,355.68 crore indicative loss estimated by the agriculture department, the state is eligible for only Rs 235.55 crore assistance as per the eligible norms.The Centre has given a sum of Rs 93.5 crore to Kerala and the department will appraise the Centre of the gravity of actual loss and push for an assistance on par with the damage sustained to the agriculture sector, said Justin Mohan.
Source – http://www.newindianexpress.com