SAMBALPUR: Untimely rain coupled with hailstorm and heavy winds in the last one week has shattered the hopes of a bumper rabi paddy harvest hope of farmers in the district.
The normal rainfall for the month of April in the district is 16.5 mm. However, Sambalpur has received 86.66 mm rain between April 21 and 27. The unseasonal rain has damaged standing paddy crops over vast tracts of agriculture land.
On Monday, rain lashed Dhankauda block and nearby areas resulting in crop damage. Prior to this, standing crop over around 4,200 hectare (ha) was affected due to unseasonal rain on April 21. Sources said the district has regularly received rain in the last one week.
Paddy has been cultivated over around 14,630 ha with the production target of 87,780 tonne during the current rabi season in the district. Since the weather was conducive for farming till April 21, farmers were expecting a bumper paddy production. However, the inclement weather has come as a blow to the farmers who are now spending sleepless in fear of crop loss.
Umesh Mishra, a farmer of Satupali village in Dhankauda, said he has cultivated paddy over 45 acre of land. “The standing crop has been badly damaged due to the rain and heavy winds on Monday. The wind velocity was so high that paddy grains have been separated from the panicles,” he said.
Mishra was expecting a paddy yield of at least 40 bags per acre of land. However, he now hopes to collect around 30 bags per acre after the damage.
Chief District Agriculture Officer Santosh Ray said paddy crop over around 30 per cent of farmland has been affected due to the untimely rain. “I have directed all the field staff to conduct a survey of the affected areas. The crop loss will be assessed and a detailed report submitted to the Government soon,” he added.