Onam Dampner: Rain to Set Vegetable Prices on Fire

Crop loss caused by torrential downpour in the past few weeks has touched `75 crore

KOZHIKODE: With the late monsoon downpour damaging crops vegetable prices, which have already gone north on account of inflation, are set to burn holes in the pockets of consumers this Onam season.

A rough estimate reveals that the crop loss caused by torrential rain in the past few weeks has already touched Rs 75-crore mark.

A preliminary assessment by the Agriculture Department shows that plantain farmers are the most affected lot across the state. Around 1.6 lakh plantain trees were damaged due to heavy rainfall in Kozhikode district alone.

The department is yet to assess crop loss in terms of money. Director of Agriculture R Ajithkumar said prices are likely to skyrocket. “A few months ago, a drought-like situation prevailed in many parts of the state and it had affected crop production. Now, the flood-like situation has made it worse. There is no doubt that the prices will go up,” Ajithkumar said.

Alappuzha, with an estimated crop loss of Rs 27.54 crore, is the worst hit. More than 3,460 hectares of paddy is lying inundated in the district.

The Agriculture Department has estimated crop loss in around 520 hectares due to the breach of dykes in Kuttanad.

In Palakkad, heavy rain has submerged 250.78 hectares of agricultural land, damaging plantain, paddy and vegetables.

The estimated loss is `498.68 lakh. 

The tentative estimate of crop loss in Kozhikode district has been put at `4.13 crore, while in Wayanad loss suffered by farmers would come to `3 crore. In Pathanamthitta, agricultural loss due to the rain stood at `8.88 lakh.

In Idukki, farmers lost produce in around 174.98 hectares of land, causing an estimated loss of `1.75 crore. Kottayam suffered crop damage in 52.64 hectares of land resulting in an estimated loss of `1.56 crore.

In Kozhikode district, over 2,000 coconut trees, 4,500 rubber trees, nearly 14 hectares of tapioca and 43 hectares of paddy suffered damage. The crop loss spread in 174.98 hectare is estimated to be Rs 1.75 crore.  Organic farmers who commenced cultivation  to provide poison-free vegetables are now not in a position to deliver. “We lost vegetables due to water-logging and nothing could be done to save the fields as the drainage system here is very poor,” said Rejul, an organic farmer in Kozhikode.  Raveendran, a farmer from Kizhakkumbadam, who used to provide bananas for Palayam market and major bakeries, has another tale of sorrow to share. “The summer showers were bad enough. The monsoon has now damaged most of my plantain crop,” he said.

According to farmers, vegetable growers are likely to suffer  a decline in yield between 20 to 40 per cent. “The banana production will be down by around 40 per cent. “The banana production will be down by around 40 per cent. Lack of sufficient sunlight for weeks has adversely affected those engaged in hi-tech farming practices including poly-house cultivation,” said C Narendranath, certified vegetable farmer hailing from Kottarakkara.

“We have already contacted all the 81 Krishi Bhavans across the district to submit a detailed report. Once the report is received the compensation will be distributed through e-payment system,” said C Haridas, Deputy Director of Agriculture.

Agriculture expert and former director of agriculture R Hali said the government should immediately evolve a marketing strategy incorporating  the Agriculture Department, Horticorp and Civil Supplies Corporation.  “Unless the government initiates an immediate action plan, the coming Onam season would be the worst in the history of Kerala as far as prices of vegetables are concerned. Already, the prices are on the higher side,” Hali said.

“The main agenda of the Agriculture, Horticorp and Civil Supplies Departments should be to book as much as crops as early as possible from Coimbatore, Mysore and Madurai regions. Besides, the government should ensure maximum procurement of local agriculture produce, which have survived the monsoon fury, by giving a premium price to farmers,” he said.

The Chill Continues

Heavy rainfall predicted

The Meteorological Department has warned of heavy to very heavy rainfall at isolated places till Thursday. It has also warned of strong onshore winds

Government Solace

The govt has announced a solatium of `2 lakh each to the families of those killed in the torrential rain. Those who lost houses will be given `2 lakh each

Rising water raises hopes

Water-level in Idukki dam is inching up slowly to reach 2,346.12 ft which is 42 pc of the total volume of the dam.  Full reservoir level of the Idukki dam is 2,403 ft

Bodies of Kids Recovered: The bodies of the two children who had gone missing in the Tirur-Ponnani river were recovered from the premises of Kandanath bridge on Monday. Three boys had gone missing on Sunday evening

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