KOCHI: Just as the tourism, agriculture sectors were getting back on their feet after the pandemic-induced crisis, the downpour in the past few weeks has played spoilsport. Many families are cancelling their outdoor trips and vacation plans. Farmers were affected by the unexpected change in weather and crop loss from rain
The tourism and agriculture sectors, which were on the road to revival after the crisis brought about by two years of pandemic and lockdowns, have been affected by the unusually heavy summer rain. Paddy and plantain cultivation has suffered largely in the district’s outskirts. According to farmers, though they took precautions like tying up the crops to prevent them from being knocked down in the wind, it didn’t seem to help. Farmers who cultivated on the land abandoned by their neighbours or leased out plots had not insured the crops either.
Only landowners who have a land tax receipt can apply for insurance, said Dhanesh P T, a farmer from Vaniyakkode. The rest have been left to deal with the heavy losses themselves.“I have been farming for the past two years. Initially, I tried paddy cultivation with the support of Kottuvally Krishi Bhavan. It was a success. Then I tried Chankal Vellari (a type of cucumber). The harvest was very successful, but due to its huge size, it could not be sold in the market. Plantains were my next choice. But in February and March, I lost around 180 crops out of the total 220. I have been cultivating on the 25 cents that belong to my neighbour and hence, could not apply for insurance. I lost Rs 27,000 due to crop loss alone, besides labour chargesa,” said Dhanesh.
According to district principal agriculture officer Sheela Paul, they have reported losses due to the recent downpour in the district and are awaiting help from the central and state governments. “The unexpected rains have hit the agriculture sector badly. The farmers were just recovering from the pandemic,” she said.
Tourism slows down
The travel and tourism industry also seems to be suffering due to the change in climate. Many families that had made bookings at various destinations during summer holidays are now cancelling them due to the unexpected weather.
District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) secretary Shyam Krishnan said they conducted detailed discussions with the tourism minister to figure out ways to uplift the industry. “The department is in a dilemma. We cannot issue a rain alert as people are bound to cancel their trips when they hear of rough weather. Families, especially those with young children prefer not to visit hill stations or beaches when it’s raining heavily,” he said.
Shyam added that domestic tourists are not very interested in indoor activities. “Water sports destinations like Munambam and Cherayi have been hit the worst. We can’t shift such activities out of these spots or redirect clients elsewhere. Small businesses related to tourism are also suffering,” he added. Water sports and related activities were launched in the city recently targeting the post-pandemic crowd.
District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) secretary Shyam Krishnan said the department is in a dilemma. “We cannot issue a rain alert as people are bound to cancel their trips when they hear of rough weather. Families, especially those with young children, prefer not to visit hill stations or beaches when it’s raining heavily,” said Shyam.