In the past few days, rice crops, soon-ready to be harvested, have been destroyed due to excessive rain in many parts of the country. Farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Assam and other northeastern states are expecting huge losses.
A low pressure in the Bay of Bengal, has caused the western disturbances; a rain-bearing technique. It has brought heavy rains at a time when it was not required by the crops and the retreating monsoon has further added to the farmer’s worries regarding the Kharif crops. Thousands of hectares of cultivated land are waterlogged in the Sutlej-Yamuna basin.
Adequate harvests are important this year amid an international food crisis. India has already prohibited the export of wheat in May and then put curbs on rice shipments as extreme weather impacted the crops.
Now harvesting of paddy has come to a halt because of heavy rain and harvesters cannot operate on soft and wet soil. Rajasthan, a huge producer of spices and onion, has also received extensive rainfall, particularly in eastern districts, deteriorating crops such as coarse cereals.
Rajinder Singh, a former agriculture officer with the Haryana government, said, “There will be considerable yield loss in paddy”.
According to Sanjay Sangroiya, a horticulture expert who formerly worked at the Centre of Excellence for Vegetables in Haryana’s Gharaunda, “The rains had also delayed the planting of vegetable crops and now, farmers may have to be careful with pest attacks. This rainfall is good for soya bean crops which require more moisture”.
The rain is likely to occur at several places in northern states in the coming days, effectively narrowing the time window, functional for farmers to harvest and empty their fields of paddy sediments.
“Crop losses in central and western Uttar Pradesh are expected due to heavy rainfall affecting the farmer subsequently” said Sudhir Panwar, a Lucknow-based agriculture expert. Rains and storms have engulfed villages and plantations in regions such as Agra, Mathura, Etawah, Kannauj and Meerut, he added.