Cyclone Nivar has caused extensive damage to the standing crops in 11 of the 13 districts in the State.
According to preliminary estimates available with the Department of Agriculture, crops weighing 5,35,475 tonnes in 2,14,420 hectares have been damaged, inflicting a loss of ₹1,064.83 crore on the farmers.
But the bad news is not yet over for the farmers. Reports indicating yet another cyclonic storm in succession may compound their woes further.
“After Nivar, another cyclonic circulation is said to be brewing in the Bay of Bengal, which may cause further damage to the crops,” said Arun Kumar, Commissioner, Department of Agriculture.
Several places in the State witnessed torrential rains of more than 200 mm, resulting in eight deaths so far and loss of property in vast stretches.
Damage to crops
Mr. Kumar said that ready-to-harvest paddy crop was damaged in vast stretches.
“We can minimise the damage if there are no more rains as water will recede in the next few days. But the threat of another cyclone may further mount the burden of losses on the farmers,” he said, explaining that a detailed enumeration of crop loss would be possible only after the rains stopped.
Wherever there is more than 30% damage, the farmers would be eligible for input subsidy as per the National or State Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF, SDRF) norms.
Mr. Arun Kumar said that 90% of the damaged crop comprised paddy, while black gram and red gram, besides some extent of cotton cultivation, also bore the brunt of Cyclone Nivar.
‘Guntur farmers worst-hit’
“Farmers of Guntur district have taken the biggest hit. They have started sowing late for the kharif and the crop has now come for harvest. They would have gone for harvesting in the next few days,” he said.
Now that a major part of the crop got lodged in rainwater, the farmers might have to wait for sunshine for the crop to dry and postpone harvesting till the second week of December, he observed.
The farmers, meanwhile, were keeping their fingers crossed, hoping for an end to their distress.