WAYANAD: The torrential downpour and subsequent flood in the past few days have worsened the condition of farmers at Thavanjal panchayat, which is spread over 143.3 sq km in Wayanad and boasts of having the largest farmlands in the district. If the rainfall continues, the farmers, who are still recuperating from the damage caused by last year’s flood, would be staring at a bleak future.“There’s not much you can do when it rains so intensely. The farms lands are flooded and the damage is huge,” said Achappan Kunjumon, 67, pointing towards his banana cultivation which were destroyed in this year’s flood.
“Banana prices have plummeted. The yield is less. I have no idea what to do,” he said. “We haven’t experienced such bad times. In the past two years, our life has become miserable,” he said. Thavanjal farmers fear the poor yield would exacerbate their economic situation. Those in other parts of the district worry the same. At many places, the Agriculture Department has already started evaluating the damage to crops and farmlands.
“Rain has battered banana farms. We will be unable to tend to the crops for a few days owing to slush and mud in the fields,” said Biju Pullat, a farmer at Makkimala. From the hilly terrains to the valleys where paddy cultivation is done on hectares of land, hundreds of farmers have been enduring rainfall, landslides and the inundation brought by swollen rivers.
Thavanjal Agricultural Officer K G Sunil said they were doing everything they could to support affected farmers in time. “We know their situation is really bad. Last year, we disbursed `4 crore among farmers as compensation for flood damage. An amount of `1 crore is yet to be distributed. On Tuesday, we carried out a rough estimation of the damage to the crops in the flood and rain,” he said.
Besides sharing pictures of their damaged farms in social media, farmers have also started taking photos of the damage to the crops to claim insurance. “The setback to farmers will not necessarily affect the market as middlemen have started to source the produce at low rates from such farmers who are selling the yield under duress,” Sunil said. “Claiming crop insurance is farmers’ main hurdle. We have issued the highest number of insurance to banana cultivation,” Sunil said.