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Unseasonal rain damages cash crops in Maharashtra

Last modified January 07, 2015 10:50

Business Line. New Delhi, 29 December 2014

The unseasonal rains and hailstorms in northern Maharashtra during the last few weeks have wreaked havoc with the cash crops. In Nashik, the largest onion producing district of the country, about 20 per cent of rabi (dry winter) crop has been damaged. Over the last three years, climate change has ravaged the district. Unseasonal rains, hailstorms and exceedingly cold winter have taken a major toll on cash crops such as onions and grapes thus, impacting prices across the country. On an average, about 90,000 hectares of rabi crop of onion get planted in the district between October and November, which will be ready for harvest by April and May. However, the impact of crop damage will not be reflected in the  prices in the market immediately, the official said.

Umakant Dangat, Agriculture Commissioner of Maharashtra, told BusinessLine that the survey work for assessing crop damage is still under way but initial estimates suggest that it has impacted over 15,000 hectares of farm land. Only after panchnamas, the real picture will emerge, he said. A panchnama is an administrative procedure, where accounts of five witnesses are taken on record as evidence. The evidence is used while claiming compensation for crop damage. It is also used as a tool for collecting data. A senior officer with the Revenue Department of the Maharashtra government said that the crop damage could be much higher, as the State administrative machinery is taking time in recording the evidence. Farmers, who have been hit by crop failure last year, will suffer further, the official said.

Source: Agriculture Today, Agri News Services, sanjay.km15@gmail.com

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