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Rabi Crops Suffer 50% Damage Due to Rough Weather Conditions in Gujarat

In Rajkot, a survey has been going on 1.24 lakh hectares in Jasdan, Sangani, Kotda, Rajkot, Upleta, and Gondal talukas. Officers of the agriculture department said that the survey has reported damage to crops on 792 hectares in 166 villages.

Shivangi Rai
Crop damaged in a hailstorm in an orchard in Gir Somnath
Crop damaged in a hailstorm in an orchard in Gir Somnath

On Tuesday, rabi crops in various areas of Junagadh, Amreli, and Rajkot districts suffered up to 50 percent damage due to the untimely and unseasonal rainfall and hailstorms revealed surveys by the government, even as the rough weather continued in Saurashtra for 15 consecutive days.

The state government had directed a survey of damage to crops, including wheat, coriander (dhania), gram (chana), and cumin seeds (jeera) after parts of Saurashtra, Kutch, and south Gujarat experienced untimely and unseasonal rainfall and hailstorms in the second week of this month.

Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, on Sunday, held a video conference with district collectors and directed them to get the survey done. As per the government reports, in 18 districts, 33 talukas received 10 millimetres (mm) or more of rainfall between March 5th and 9th while during the same period, 78 talukas received less than 10 mm of rain. In all, 27 out of the state’s 33 districts recorded unseasonal rainfall.

According to Raghav ji Patel, Agriculture Minister, “The survey is going on but we are not in a position to give any final figures as rain is continuing. The crops surveyed can be damaged further. The Indian Meteorological Department forecasted and said, till Thursday showers will continue. We have asked officers to evaluate the situation on daily basis.”

In Amreli, the first round of untimely and unseasonal rainfall significantly damaged Rabi crops in Lathi, Dhari, Bagasara, and Khambha talukas. Jignesh Kanani, district agricultural officer (DAO) of Amreli said that Rabi crops in 24,288 hectares and horticulture crops in 1,300 hectares were reported to have been adversely affected by the rainfall in 123 villages of these four talukas.

He also told, “More than 70 per cent of the affected area has been surveyed by our teams and survey reports are available for 7,000 hectares. The available survey reports suggested more than 33 per cent damage in 3,000 hectares and up to 50 per cent in some pockets of Dhari and Bagasara talukas.”

“In accordance with the Gujarat State Disaster Management Act, farmers in a given taluka become eligible for compensation if a taluka records more than 10 millimetres of rains and damages 33 per cent or more crops. Amreli district collector Gaurang Makwana said we have instructed talati-cum-mantris and gramsevaks (village-level workers) to report any damage to crops.”

“Many farmers sow Rabi crops in late December after harvesting cotton in Amreli. This late sowing means late harvesting as compared to districts like Rajkot,” Kanani said, adding that Rabi harvesting was at its peak. The DAO said that the unseasonal and untimely showers damaged the quality of wheat and gram while damaging jeera and coriander almost completely.

In 2020, Farmers of the state are doing without any insurance for their crops after the state government chose to opt out of the Centre’s flagship Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFY). Instead, the state government has been directly paying compensation of up to Rs 18,000 per hectare to farmers after surveying the damage in events of severe weather events.

In Amreli, the first round of untimely and unseasonal rainfall significantly damaged Rabi crops in Lathi, Dhari, Bagasara, and Khambha talukas. Jignesh Kanani, district agricultural officer (DAO) of Amreli said that Rabi crops in 24,288 hectares and horticulture crops in 1,300 hectares were reported to have been adversely affected by the rainfall in 123 villages of these four talukas.

He also told, “More than 70 per cent of the affected area has been surveyed by our teams and survey reports are available for 7,000 hectares. The available survey reports suggested more than 33 per cent damage in 3,000 hectares and up to 50 per cent in some pockets of Dhari and Bagasara talukas.”

“In accordance with the Gujarat State Disaster Management Act, farmers in a given taluka become eligible for compensation if a taluka records more than 10 millimetres of rains and damages 33 per cent or more crops. Amreli district collector Gaurang Makwana said we have instructed talati-cum-mantris and gramsevaks (village-level workers) to report any damage to crops.”

“Many farmers sow Rabi crops in late December after harvesting cotton in Amreli. This late sowing means late harvesting as compared to districts like Rajkot,” Kanani said, adding that Rabi harvesting was at its peak. The DAO said that the unseasonal and untimely showers damaged the quality of wheat and gram while damaging jeera and coriander almost completely.

In 2020, Farmers of the state are doing without any insurance for their crops after the state government chose to opt out of the Centre’s flagship Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFY). Instead, the state government has been directly paying compensation of up to Rs 18,000 per hectare to farmers after surveying the damage in events of severe weather events.

In Rajkot, a survey has been going on 1.24 lakh hectares in Jasdan, Sangani, Kotda, Rajkot, Upleta, and Gondal talukas. Officers of the agriculture department said that the survey has reported damage to crops on 792 hectares in 166 villages.

Dev Choudhary, district development officer of Rajkot said, “Though, the damage has been 33 per cent or more in only eight hectares belonging to 19 farmers in Jasdan taluka so far,” said JD Gondaliya, DAO of Junagadh.”

The government has completed the survey of crops on 3,000 hectares in 26 villages of Visavadar taluka in Junagadh after that area witnessed unseasonal rainfall on March 6. JD Gondaliya, DAO of Junagadh said, “Wheat, gram, and coriander in 120 hectares suffered 33 per cent or more damage while in other areas, it is between 10 per cent and 32 per cent”.

Meanwhile, damage is also reported from mango orchards in Junagadh, Amreli, and Gir Somnath. Areas such as Dhari and Savarkundla have orchards of Kesar variety of mangoes also. Sardarsinh Chauhan, who has a mango orchard in Talala of Gir Somnath said, “The fruit-setting following the late flowering stage of January-February looked very good but rainfall, hailstorms, and for 15 days, the continued humid weather have led to large-scale fruit shedding and pest attacks.”

Ramnik Ladani, joint director of horticulture of the Rajkot region said that the wet weather may also lead to pest attacks while hailstorms may cause fruits to fall, and the continued wet weather may lead to an infestation of sap-sucking pests.

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