Double whammy for farmers as they lose crop in midst of COVID-19 lockdown

It was a double whammy for farmers in several districts of Andhra Pradesh as untimely rain and gale storm on Thursday left their agricultural and horticultural crops in several thousand hectares damaged, if not destroyed, on top of the misery imposed on them due to the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown.

Paddy, harvested in some places and ready-to-harvest in others, was the worst hit while chilli, mango, banana, maize and other crops too suffered substantial damage in Kadapa, Kurnool, SPS Nellore, Prakasam, Guntur, Krishna, West Godavari, East Godavari and Srikakulam districts.

Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, at his daily review meeting, directed the authorities concerned on Friday to enumerate the crop losses immediately and extend necessary compensation to the distressed farmers.

Preliminary estimates by the agriculture department said paddy in over 20,000 hectares in many districts was badly hit by the untimely rain.

Rabi paddy harvesting got delayed in many districts because of the ongoing lockdown and the produce that was kept to dry after the harvest got soaked.

In Krishna district alone, paddy crop in over 9,700 hectares was damaged while in neighbouring West Godavari the damage was spread over 6,600 ha.

In West Godavari and SPS Nellore districts, ready-to- harvest mango is now almost lost because of the gale storm. Similarly, banana plantations in Kadapa, Kurnool, Nellore and West Godavari districts suffered extensive damage as trees were uprooted.

In Krishna, Guntur and Prakasam districts, chilli suffered severe damage. At many places, the harvested chilli was left in the yards for drying up and the sudden rain left it soaked.

Crops like cashew, sunflower and green gram were damaged in Srikakulam district. “We are obtaining reports from each district on the extent of damage to each crop.

The enumeration will take a few days because of the lockdown and a clear picture on the damages will be known only after that,” a senior official of the State Disaster Management Authority said.

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Updated: April 10, 2020 — 11:14 pm

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