KENDRAPARA: The receding water has revealed the extent of damage in flood-ravaged Kendrapara district with the worst hit being farmers.
Vast tracts of paddy fields in Aul, Pattamundai, Marsaghai, Derabishi and Rajkanika blocks have turned into swamps with rotting crops still submerged in water.
“The floods have completely shattered the rural economy. Farmers had spent huge amount of money to raise paddy saplings which have been damaged in the floods. With the deluge ruining our livelihood, we now stare at a bleak future,” said Sarat Sahoo, a farmer of Manapur village under Rajkanika.
Following good rains during transplantation of paddy saplings three months back, farmers were expecting a bumper crop. But all hopes have been shattered.
Akhil Das, a farmer of Gobindapur in Aul, said, “I had cultivated paddy on four acre of land and was hoping for a bumper harvest. The floods came as a bolt from the blue for me as all my saplings have been damaged.”
Apart from paddy, sugarcane and jute, which were grown as secondary crops, have also been affected by the floods. Besides, there are reports of vegetable crops suffering damage.
Sources said the floods have deposited sand on huge chunk of agriculture land. It would take farmers another year to clear the sand from their land.
“All prospects of a bountiful good food grain production this year were washed away by the deluge. My crop over three acre of land has been inundated and I find no way to recover from the crisis,” said Ratikanta Pradhan, a farmer of Taradipala village under Pattamundai.
Secretary of the district Krushak Sabha Umesh Chandra Singh said now is a difficult time for farmers. The impact of crop loss will be felt on the economy of farmers who will find it hard to recover from the blow.
Due to non-availability of flood-tolerant paddy seeds, farmers in low-lying areas suffer crop loss every year. Three decades back, many farmers used to raise traditional flood-tolerant paddy seeds to save their crops from damage. But now, everyone depends on the seeds supplied by the Agriculture department as a result of which the paddy crops suffer damage during floods, Singh added.
Chief district agriculture officer of Kendrapara Ashok Mahasuar said, “The block agriculture officers and village agriculture workers have been directed to submit a detailed report about the crop loss due to flood. After getting the report, we will provide assistance to the affected farmers.”