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Fresh rain spells more trouble for farmers

Standing crops flattened at many places I Fear of low yield looms across dist

Fresh rain spells more trouble for farmers

Flattened wheat crop at a village in Jalandhar



Tribune News Service

Aparna Banerji

Jalandhar, March 31

The fresh spell of rain on Thursday night has farmers worried. “Incessant rain has already brought down the wheat yield from 25 to 26 quintal per acre to 15-16 quintals per acre. If it rains further, the yield per acre will be down to 10 quintals,” says a Shahkot-based farmer.

No official assessment yet

So far, the government hasn’t reached out to farmers regarding the crop damage. No official has come for assessment. There have been no ground visits. The harvest will be pushed to April 20 (from April 10) or later if the weather stays like this. — Nirmal Singh, Dhandowal-based farmer

Crop loss will be compensated

There was 1 mm rainfall last night, which isn’t much. There is a 5 per cent damage to crops across the district. In affected fields, there will be at the most 1 or 2 quintal of damage to yield. Any damage will be adequately compensated. — Jaswant Singh, Chief Agricultural Officer, Jalandhar

A potato crop submerged in rainwater in Sultanpur Lodhi. Photos: Malkiat Singh

After two wet spells wreaked havoc on crops, farmers now fear more damage due to the rain in the coming days. They also complain of no proper assessment of the damage by the Agriculture Department.

A week ago, large tracts of farm land in the district were adversely affected by the rain. On Thursday night, strong winds flattened crop in several areas and added to the crop loss. Farmers said a night of more rains would halve the wheat yield on their fields and push harvest by a week to 10 days.

Nirmal Singh, a Dhandowal-based farmer, said: “The average yield across the area is down to 15 quintal per acre. The crop at my farm is all flattened. If it rains tonight, the yield will be reduced to half. We were expecting 25 to 26 quintals per acre, but after recent rains it was down to 15 to 16 quintals per acre. If it rains tonight, the yield will be down to 10 quintals per acre. So far, the government hasn’t reached out to farmers regarding the crop damage. No official has come for assessment. There have been no ground visits. The harvest will be pushed to April 20 (from the earlier April 10) or later, if the weather stays like this.”

Randhir Singh, a farmer at Seetalpur village in Bhogpur said: “My potato crop yield is down to 15 quintals presently. I paid Rs 900 to a JCB to dig a pit to route the excess water in my field. Harvest will also be costlier as wheat won’t be standing as before, and combines will take longer and use more diesel. Officials need to visit villages and sarpanches to assess the damage.”

Chief Agricultural Officer, Jalandhar, Jaswant Singh said, “There was 1 mm rainfall last night, which isn’t much. As per assessment, there is a 5 per cent damage to crops across the district. It might increase if it rains more. But currently, in affected fields, there will be at the most 1 or 2 quintal of damage to yield, not more. Even if some riverside areas have been affected, damaged crop will be on maximum 20 to 50 acres across district. Any damage will be adequately compensated.”

In Jalandhar, there are 10 agricultural blocks which have only eight ADOs against sanctioned posts of 56. Only five blocks have agricultural officers; in five others the posts are vacant. Sources said when there were no fields staff positions filled, who will carry out the assessments.

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