Late-season rainfall damages harvest-ready Kharif crop in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana

PUNE: Late-season rainfall, likely caused by the retreating monsoon, has damaged the harvest-ready Kharif crop in Maharashtra and the adjoining regions of Andhra Pradesh-Telangana, putting further pressure on the already high prices of onions, pulses, soyabean and staple greens.

Besides these, cotton, tomato, vegetables, banana and grape crops have also been damaged.

While states are yet to carry out field surveys to assess the actual losses, they say that the highest loss in Maharashtra will be of the soybean crop, followed by paddy and cotton. September rainfall has hit the soybean and cotton crops in more than 7 lakh hectares in Maharashtra. Mantralaya has said that it will compensate farmers affected by excess rains.

“The nurseries of onion have been damaged even as onion seed prices are high,” said Anil Ghanvat, president, Shetkari Sangathana from Maharashtra. “Crops like soybean, cotton, kharif, jowar and bajra too have suffered. Farmers from Jalgaon district have demanded that they be compensated for the losses in jowar.”

Prices of onion, pulses and soybean have been on an upward trend since the past few weeks. As the new onion crop is still two months away, wholesale onion prices, which are ruling at around Rs 40/kg in Maharashtra, are likely to move upward.

The Soybean Processors’ Association of India (SOPA) has said that it has become difficult for the industry to procure raw material and sell finished goods due to rising prices.

Meanwhile, the Centre has recently started offloading its pulses stock held by Nafed to tame pulses prices.

In Andhra Pradesh, where coastal districts have been affected more, the damages have been restricted as farmers are preparing for rabi crops. “As per preliminary estimates, the damages caused by recent rainfall are mostly in the districts of East Godavari and Visakhapatnam and restricted to vegetable crops and bananas,” said Chiranjiv Chaudhary, commissioner (horticulture), Andhra Pradesh.

The formation of low-pressure areas in the Bay of Bengal halted the process of monsoon’s withdrawal, bringing fresh spells of rain to the southern peninsula. The India Meteorological Department has forecast more rainfall this week.

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