Grim Diwali for Farmers as Post Monsoon Showers Damage Crops
Aurangabad: Maize and cotton growers in Maharashtra's Aurangabad district did not celebrate Diwali this year as their crops were destroyed due to heavy post monsoon showers.
While the district, located in the perennially parched Marathwada region, got deficient downpour during this year's rainy season, it received excess post monsoon showers in the last one week, a government official said. "Last year, pests ate 60 to 70 per cent of our cotton crop. This year, excess rains damaged both cotton and maize crops. Only 10 to 15 per cent of the crops can be reaped now," he said.
Ishwar Sapkal, a farmer from Soyegaon taluka, told PTI. "We can't go in our fields due to water-logging and foul smell of the damaged crops. This is the second consecutive year when we are facing losses. We have not celebrated Diwali this year," said Sapkal, who is also a 'Krishi Mitra', tasked to guide farmers on better crop yield. He said even farm labourers were not ready to pick up the damaged crops.
"This is the case everywhere in the district. Crops on nearly 25 per cent of the cultivated area in Soyegaon taluka have suffered damages," another farmer said. "We have been able to save only 10 to 20 per cent of cotton, but the market rate for this damaged crop is Rs 2,000 per quintal, whereas for a good quality cotton we generally get Rs 5,500 per quintal," he said.
Sakpal said he was expecting cotton yield of 200 quintal on his 16-acre farm this year, but due to the weather adversities, now it was not likely to be more than 30 quintal. "Our crops are insured, we have paid premiums. But, we don't know when the insurance firm employees will come and assess our losses. Because of this, we cannot even remove the damaged crop to clear our fields. If the insurers come late, we will lose the remaining crop also," he said.
Soyegaon taluka agriculture officer Sudam Ghule said an assessment of crop damage will be done. "Every part of Marathwada region has witnessed such crop damage due to excess rains. Tehsildars will ask the village-level committees to submit reports on the ground situation based on which further steps will be taken," he added.