VIJAYAWADA: Paddy farmers in the Krishna district are confronting unprecedented challenges this year as the Kharif cultivation season, intended to usher in hope and abundance, has transformed into a series of setbacks.
Official reports reveal that farmers spanning both Krishna and NTR districts invested efforts in cultivating an expansive 4.5 lakh acres of paddy, with expectations of a 10.50 lakh tonne grain harvest.
According to district agriculture authorities in Krishna district, paddy in various stages, covering 151,549 hectares in 430 villages, has suffered due to the cyclone. Of these, 17,032 hectares were inundated, and 61,000 were lodging. Other crops like maize and black gram faced setbacks, with significant acreage inundated in various villages.
The Joint Director of Agriculture in Krishna district mentioned measures for paddy in sheaves and heaps, including covering with tarpaulins.
However, paddy in the harvesting stage is affected, leading to ill-filled grains, chaffy grains, discoloured paddy, grain shedding, and a potential decrease in yield.
The Joint Director suggested measures such as draining water from fields, erecting lodged plants, tying plants together (especially for milky-stage paddy), and spraying a 5 per cent salt solution to prevent germination.
Apart from agricultural losses, infrastructure damage is substantial. District R&B authorities reported 143.85 km of damaged roads, requiring significant funds for restoration.
Andhra Pradesh Central Power Distribution Company Limited (APCPDCL) reported damage to power infrastructure, affecting 52 villages.
District Collector P Rajababu emphasised the need for detailed reports on damages in a review meeting, including crop damage, losses in dairy cattle, and a report from the Horticulture Department in Krishna district.
NTR District Collector S Dilli Rao assured affected farmers of the State government support in the aftermath of Cyclone Michaung. During his visit to paddy fields in Vijayawada rural mandal, he assessed the impact of heavy rains on crops. The collector also interacted with farmers.