Crops over 3 lakh acres were damaged in Andhra Pradesh due to unseasonal rains and thunderstorms a week ago.
The standing rabi crops which were ready for harvest were damaged in various districts across the state.
Farmers in coastal districts and Rayalaseema faced the wrath of untimely rains and their hopes of reaping a good harvest in next 10-15 days were shattered.
The unseasonal rains caused losses to maize, chilly, paddy, and tobacco crops. Mango crop was also extensively damaged. Banana, tomato, other horticultural and vegetable crops also suffered the damage.
Farmers were shocked as the maize crop which was ready for harvest was inundated in few districts. Strong winds also damaged mango, papaya, and banana crops.
Farmers in several areas complained that authorities did not come to their rescue. Agriculture Department officials were not seen in the fields. In Anantapur district, affected farmers staged a protest on Tadipatri highway.
Shocked over crop losses, couple of farmers ended lives.
In Bapatla district, woman farmer Nirmala, 48, committed suicide due to losses to her tobacco crop, while in Chittoor district, farmer Bhaskar, 45, consumed pesticides as he was unable to bear the crop loss. He had taken a loan of Rs 1.5 lakh to grow cauliflower and tomato on two acres but the entire crop was inundated.
Farmers cultivating maize also suffered massive losses. It was decided to cultivate maize on 4.97 lakh acres during Rabi season but actual cultivation was taken up on 5.90 lakh acres. The farmers estimated to have suffered a loss of Rs 35,000 per acre.
Chilly farmers in south coastal districts were the worst hit. They had invested Rs 2.50 lakh to Rs 3 lakh per acre and reportedly suffered losses of Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 per acre.
According to Information and Public Relations Minister, Srinivasa Venugopal Krishna, maize, paddy, black gram and chilly crops were damaged in 15 mandals of Nandyal district.
Crops of maize suffered damage in parts of NTR, Parvathipuram Manyam, and Kurnool districts. Banana crop damage was reported from Parvathipuram Manyam, while black gram and cotton crop damage was reported in a mandal in Prakasam district.
Farmers in Kadapa and Annamaiah districts also faced the loss of horticulture crops, especially papaya, banana, mango, lemon, watermelon, and turmeric.
Though it has been a week since the unseasonal rains lashed the state, the government has still not come out with the data relating to crop losses and as a result, farmers were still waiting for the announcement of compensation.
It was on March 19 that Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy held a meeting with senior officials here on Sunday and reviewed the situation arising out of untimely rains.
Seeking details of the crop loss caused by the unseasonal rains, the Chief Minister directed them to start enumeration of the crop loss immediately. He directed all district collectors to complete the enumeration in a week and take steps to help the farmers who have suffered crop loss due to the rains.
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