BHUBANESWAR: Cyclone Amphan that brushed past Odisha coast has caused extensive damage to summer crops on over one lakh acres in four districts. Paddy crop, in particular, was badly damaged.
The tropical cyclone that revisited the coastal districts a year after ‘Fani’ hit the State, was a double whammy for distressed farmers who sustained huge loss during the extended Covid-19 lockdown.
Balasore district, which was the worst affected, has lost summer crops for the second consecutive year leaving the farmers worried. Crop loss has also been reported from Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Puri districts. “The district field staff have been asked to assess the damage to crops. A clear picture will emerge in a couple of days,” said a senior officer of Agriculture department.
Logging of ripened paddy in around 60 pc of the cropped areas of Balasore district has been reported. As the harvest-ready crops are under rain water, farmers have lost hope of any recovery. Ram Krishan Dey (45), a big farmer of Belvaria village under Jaleswar block of the district, was expecting a bumper harvest from his 45 acres and had completed crop cutting on 5 acres. “All my efforts to save the crops went in vain as I could not arrange more harvesting machines due to non-availability of trained operators during the lockdown,” said Dey.
The paddy crops are under water and it will take 4 to 5 days for the water to recede, said Dey. “I have lost all hope,” he said. Owner of 30 acres, Dey had grown paddy in additional 15 acres which he had tilled on rent. Summer paddy is an important crop in eight of the 12 blocks in Balasore district as farmers hardly depend on kharif crop since most of the areas of the districts are in low lying areas.
Cyclone blows away hopes of betel vine farmers
Cuttack: Cyclone Amphan has wreaked havoc on betel vineyards causing huge losses to farmers of Niali block in the district. More than 1,000 betel leaf farmers of the block have been badly affected by the cyclonic storm. All their betel vineyards have been damaged and razed to the ground. As per the practice, before the onset of monsoon, most of the farmers had completed the annual renovation work on their betel vineyards by altering ‘Chhuncha’, ‘Binchana’, ‘Adua’ and ‘Pota’ in April amid the lockdown restriction. While they were waiting for a bumper crop, the cyclone blew away all their hopes.
“Betel vines in my three acre of land have been completely ravaged by the cyclone as a result of which I suffered huge losses,” said Manoj Mallik of Gobindapada village. The affected farmers have urged the district administration to assess the damage to their vines and provide financial assistance at the earliest. Sources said Niali’s betel leaves have a special identity in and outside the State due to their quality. Around 70 per cent of farmers in the block depend on cultivation of betel leaves. Farmers of Niali supply a lion’s share of their betel leaves to markets in Kolkata and Mumbai where its demand is high.