New Delhi: Rain in several parts of the region over past week combined with hailstorm has spelled doom for farmers who were ready to harvest lush ripe wheat crop on Vaisakhi, the annual harvest festival of the region. While authorities say the damage was partial and in few pockets only, farmers claim flattening of crops in several parts has damaged standing wheat crop in the state.
Gurjit Brar, Information Officer, Department of Agriculture, Punjab, says overall there will be no impact of the rain on the yield as the crop had not ripened completely. Damage reported is in a few pockets only. The loss could have been more in case of water logging or hail storm in more parts of the state.
“Instead the cold spell got extended a bit due to rain which has helped the crop. Sowing of wheat was already late by a fortnight or so thus the crop had not fully ripened as a result of which the wheat grains did not fall off the straw. Even harvest of the crop is delayed by a week or so. Overall the loss is partial. Weather prediction is for a clear sky ahead.”
Farmer unions on the other hand are demanding that the state procurement agencies should not deduct from MSP because of moisture content in wheat crop. Jalandhar and Cotton Belt of Mansa, Bathinda have suffered damage due to rain. Standing crop in these areas has flattened due to hail storm, winds accompanying the rain.
Jagmohan Singh, Secretary, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) says, “Wheat crop had ripened up to 90% in the state. Rain and wind has flattened the standing crop in the Cotton Belt of Mansa and Bathinda and has caused heavy damage in the Doaba or the Jalandhar belt of Punjab.”
“Recent rain will lead to discolouration and moisture content in the wheat produce because of which it will be graded lower at the time of procurement. We demand that the government must pay the same MSP for such crop also to help the farmers,” he said.
Jagmohan also said that the wheat straw which is used to feed farm animals after the harvest has also been damaged because of the rain. Against government claims, he says only 10% wheat was sown late while 90% of the crop was ready for Vaisakhi harvest.