1. Agriculture World

Unseasonal Rains and Hailstorms Damage Rabi Crops in Maharashtra

Chintu Das
Chintu Das
Crop Damage

Rabi crops, predominantly onion, wheat and jowar, have been impacted over the past two days by unseasonal rains and hailstorms in areas of Maharashtra. Vineyards have sustained significant damage in the districts of Sangli and Nashik, while onion seed parcels in Jalna have been totally obliterated, the cultivators said.

Damages to onion and onion seed sections arise at the time of the harvest of the late Kharif onion. With Nashik district recording 8 mm of rainfall and impacting the crop, this reflects unseasonal rains last month.

The rainfall in January has led to a rise in onion prices over the past 2 weeks. Over the last 2 days, the rains resulted in onion modal prices (rates at which most trades happened) hitting rupees 4,000 a quintal in Nashik district, the center of the trade of the cooking staple.

Vineyards were seriously damaged in Tasgaon (Sangli), as per the farmers, while orange and mosambi plantations were damaged in the Vidarbha region. Grape growers in Nashik worried that due to unseasonal rains, the condition of grapes could be impacted. Budding mango flowers have been destroyed in several parts of the Konkan region.

In the Marathwada area, substantial damage to rabi cultivation was reported. In Nanded, turmeric farmers said most of the crop was damaged due to a hailstorm. Government officials said that the destruction was being measured by the state government and district authorities would shortly request their report. This year, around 59 lakh hectares of land are under rabi crop farming in Maharashtra.

Wheat and jowar crops have been set for harvesting, according to the State Department of Agriculture, and harvesting has already started in some areas. Heavy rains destroyed the Kharif crops in October of last year. Kharif crops spread over 50 lakh hectares were estimated by the state government to be affected. The most impacted crops were cotton and soya, the main Kharif crops in the Marathwada and Vidarbha districts.

The dampeners are a series of lockdowns, unseasonal rains during Kharif and now showers and hailstorms. Farmers are absolutely demotivated. In the Rabi season, we were expecting strong returns, but now we hope to recover at least the cost of cultivation,” said a farmer from Sangli.

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