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Grapes, Onion Crops Face Extensive Damage Across Over 90,000 Hectares in 18 Districts

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has instructed the prompt initiation of a thorough assessment of crop damage.

Shivangi Rai
The crop was in excellent condition, but the rain and hailstorm have badly affected the crops. (Photo: Canva/haveylab.horticulture)
The crop was in excellent condition, but the rain and hailstorm have badly affected the crops. (Photo: Canva/haveylab.horticulture)

Severe rain and hailstorms struck Maharashtra on Sunday, causing significant damage to crop, particularly grapes and onions.

Initial estimates from the state agriculture department reveal that more than 90,000 hectares across 18 districts, mainly in North Maharashtra, Marathwada, and Vidarbha, were affected by the adverse weather conditions.

Farmers in the region anticipate further losses as the India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a yellow and orange alert for Marathwada and Vidarbha districts, respectively, over the next 24 hours.

The weather department attributes the rain and hailstorms to the interaction of easterly winds with the trough caused by western disturbances. The affected areas included Marathwada, North Maharashtra, Pune, and surrounding regions, with varying degrees of rainfall reported in Vidarbha.

Nashik district experienced 27.8 mm of rain, while Nandurbar received 61.8 mm. Moderate to heavy rainfall, exceeding 61 mm, was reported in districts like Parbhani, Nanded, Jalna, Chhatrapati Sambhanijangar, among others.

Dhule, Nandurbar, Jalgaon, Amravati, Nagpur, Ahmednagar, Hingoli, Jalna, and other areas reported extensive crop damage, particularly affecting onions, grapes, bananas, and oranges.

Grapes faced issues such as fruit cracking, while onion farmers reported losses to their harvested crops. For Nashik farmers, this compounds previous challenges, as earlier hailstorms damaged the harvested crop this year.

On Monday, the average traded price of onions in Lasalgaon, the largest onion market in Nashik, surged to Rs 4,500/quintal from Rs 3,700 on Friday, reflecting the immediate impact on the market due to the crop damage.

Vilas Shinde, chairman and managing director of Sahyadri Farms in Nashik, the largest grape exporter in India, reported extensive damage in Niphad, Chandwad, and other talukas. He mentioned that until two weeks ago, the grape crop was in excellent condition, but the recent rain and hailstorm severely affected the standing crop.

In some parts of Ahmednagar, farmers reported losses to rabi crops and poultry sheds. Parner taluka in Ahmednagar witnessed substantial losses in poultry sheds, resulting in the death of over 5,000 birds. Crops such as chana and maize were also severely affected. Pune district reported damage to rice plantations in Ambegaon and other areas.

The untimely rain and hailstorm hit Maharashtra at a time when the sowing exercise was already slow due to low soil moisture. Additional rainfall is expected to impact mango farming in the Konkan region, while cotton and cereals in Vidarbha and Marathwada regions are also likely to be affected.

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde instructed officials to conduct a panchnama (assessment) of the crop loss urgently for speedy compensation to affected farmers.

Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis directed district collectors to assess the situation and provide preliminary reports on the impact of unseasonal rain and hailstorms on agriculture in Maharashtra. Fadnavis emphasized the government's commitment to supporting farmers and assured necessary assistance once the detailed reports are available.

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