#THROWBACK 2019: Excess monsoon, floods destroyed crops & fruits

#THROWBACK 2019: Excess monsoon, floods destroyed crops & fruits

PUNE: The year 2019 was no different for the farmers in the State as in 2019, rain played the spoilsport, while 2018 was a drought which made life difficult. 

The floods in Western Maharashtra and the unseasonal rainfall in October destroyed the kharif crops besides destroying grape orchards or delaying the production of Alphonso mangoes. The floods that caused huge destruction in Sangli, Kolhapur and Satara adversely affected the crops. 

Floods in Western Maharashtra
 Sugarcane, that is grown abundantly here, was badly affected. The crop was ready for harvest before it was submerged in the floods. Over a month after the floodwater receded from the villages, water and swamp were still in the field, which made it impossible to clean.

Commissionerate of Sugar Joint Director (Development) DI Gaikwad said, “Last year, the drought in places like Marathwada and Solapur reduced the area of sugarcane. Kolhapur and Sangli are two major sugarcane producing areas. This resulted in the reduction of sugar for the year 2019-2020.”

As per the Sugar Commissionerate, the estimated sugarcane area for the crushing season 2019-2020 was 8.22 lakh hectares, while for the crushing season 2018-2019, the total area was 11.62 lakh hectares. The estimated sugar production for the year 2019-2020 was 58 lakh tonnes which was 49 lakh tonnes less than last year’s sugar production which was 107.2 lakh tonnes.

Apart from sugarcane, crops like soybean, grapes and bell pepper were also affected. In many places, soybean was ready for harvest when the rains struck. 

Unseasonal rainfall caused havoc to kharif crops
The extended rainfall in October damaged around 90 lakh hectares of agriculture land with the major loss in Aurangabad, Nashik and Amravati divisions. The two major cash crops of kharif season that were destroyed were soybean and cotton. As per the Agriculture Department, more than 50 per cent of the total area of soybean was destroyed. An area of 28 lakh hectares of soybean was damaged in the State, while more than 25 lakh hectares of cotton was affected. Other crops such as jowar, bajra, maize and others were also damaged. 

“We were facing problems due to delayed sowing of soybean, which delayed sowing and further delayed the harvesting,” said Tirupati Kankate, a farmer from Nanded in October. In the same month, a cotton grower and farmers’ activist Manish Jadhav said, “Yavatmal is one of the leading cotton producers in the State. However, unseasonal rainfall resulted in heavy losses as the cotton balls fell due to heavy winds.”
Unseasonal rainfall destroyed grape orchards

“Nearly, one-third of the cultivation of the total grapes in the State has been damaged. The total area of the grapes in the State is 1.39 lakh hectares,” said Commissionerate of Agriculture Joint Director of Agriculture (Horticulture) Shirish Jamdade.

The orchards of early varieties of grapes in the areas like Nashik and Junnar were damaged. These orchards, which were in the flowering condition, got damaged due to excessive rainfall in October. In October, All India Grapes Growers Association President Sopan Kanchan said, “The rain had not only damaged the climbers but also resulted in various diseases due to which the farmers will also face the problem of residue on the fruit.” 

It also resulted in delay of export and the cultivators feared there might be reduction of 30 to 35 per cent of the total export. 

Fruits affected  
“The prolonged and extended rainfall delayed the flowering of Alphonso mangoes further delayed the supply of mangoes in the market,” said Devgad Taluka Mango Growers Cooperative Society Chairman Ajit Gogate.

Strawberries hit
The incessant rainfall in Mahabaleshwar has adversely hit production of strawberries in the area. “Around 70 per cent of the crops in the flowering stage were destroyed due to the rain,” All India Strawberry Growers Association President Balasaheb Bhilare said in October. Bhilare also indicated that the supply might get hit due to less production.

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