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Maharashtra farmers use new methods to save horticulture crops from hailstorms

Last modified March 07, 2016 10:53

Business Line. Mumbai, 05 March 2016

The unseasonal rains and hailstorms in certain parts of Marathwada, Vidarbha and northern Maharashtra during the past week did not result in extensive damage to crops, as farmers had already moved into newer modes of cultivation. Last year, heavy rains and inclement weather destroyed 76,000 hectares of crop mainly grapes and onion across these regions.

“This year, many farmers moved away from older cultivation methods of using canopies for grapes, while many others switched to trellising style that does not let rain water accumulate on the vines,” said Jagdish Holkar, former Chairman of Indian Grape Processing Board, adding that damage to grapes and grapevines were much less this year. However, in certain areas, there have been reports of cracks in grapes berries, which could lead to fungal infestation, he added. Last year, wineries had to rescue table grape owners by buying 5,000 tonnes of the fruit, which was crushed to make an inexpensive table and port wines.

Agriculture Secretary of Maharashtra, D K Jain said that only harvested wheat in certain areas has been damaged. Crops of onion, grapes and mangoes were only marginally affected. Vivek Bhide, a mango farmer from Ratnagiri and member of the Mango and Cashew Board of Maharashtra government, said that although rains have not hit Konkan region, the weather in the last seven days has lead to an increase cloud cover coupled with a sharp rise in temperature. The night temperature has risen from 18 degrees to 23 degrees within a span of two days. These two factors have lead increase in pest attacks such as Thrips. However, the impact on mango farmers is minimal as the majority of them have either plucked the fruits or are in the process of plucking them.

Source: Agriculture Today, AgriNews, <sanjay.km15@gmail.com>

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