Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Brahmapur, Oct 17:
With prospects of a bumper Kharif crop shattered due to Cyclone Hudhud, the farmers in Odisha’s Ganjam and Gajapati district are crestfallen.
Untimely rains ushered by Cyclone Hudhud has caused extensive damage to standing paddy across thousands of hectares in these districts while other crops such as vegetables, sugarcane, pulses, groundnut and cotton have also been damaged.
“We had hoped for a good crop this year after last year’s loss due to Phailin but this year Hudhud has broken our backbone,” said a farmer in Patrapur in Ganjam district.
“We have little option than to migrate to other states in search of work in order to repay our loans we had incurred for farming. Now the government should help us”, he said.
Sources in the directorate of Agriculture said while paddy crops in 20,000 hectares were damaged in Ganjam district non-paddy crops were damaged in 62,500 hectares, according to preliminary estimates.
Paddy and non-paddy crop areas in the district are 2.23 lakh hectares and 1.38 lakh hectares respectively.
Rangeilunda, Patrapur, Chhatrapur, Chikiti and Ganjam are the worst affected blocks and the extent of damage to paddy crop will be known after crop-cutting, the sources said.
Similarly in Gajapati district the damage to standing paddy crop was estimated to have affected 27,973 hectares, cotton 13,486 hectares, pulses 11,458 hectares, vegetables 13,268 hectares and maize in 13,166 hectares, official sources said.
However, farmer leaders have alleged that the damage to crops in these districts was much more than the official estimate and have demanded for waiver of loans to farmers.