The searing summer heat and the heavy rain that followed towards April-end damaged agricultural crops worth over ₹82 crore, affecting approximately 10,870 farmers in various districts of the State.
The Agriculture Department, as part of an ongoing assessment, has pegged crop damage owing to drought alone at ₹61.18 crore. The initial dry spell and the scorching heat in March and April primarily affected paddy, banana, and cardamom. On the other hand, heavy rainfall and strong winds experienced by many districts in the second half of April wrecked paddy and banana crops in five districts, as per reports compiled by the department through Krishi Bhavans.
The drought withered mainfield paddy crop in 1,770 hectares, causing a loss of ₹33.56 crore. The losses were reported primarily from Alappuzha, Thrissur, and Palakkad districts. It also damaged banana crop in 85 hectares, chiefly in Idukki and Malappuram. The department has put the losses at ₹8.52 crore.
“The drought also damaged cardamom crop in 125 hectares, causing a loss of ₹13 crore,” Agriculture Director P.K. Jayasree said. Altogether, 6,950 farmers in various districts were affected by drought-related losses alone. On the other hand, vegetable farmers were affected to a relatively lesser extent. In all, 39 hectares under vegetable cultivation was affected, with the losses pegged at ₹1.89 crore.
The summer showers, which began to gather strength after April 15, flattened crops in Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Malappuram, and Palakkad. In all, 300 acres of paddy was hit by the heavy rain and strong winds. The losses have been put at ₹5.67 crore.
Banana crop in 150 acres also sustained damage in the rainfall and strong winds. The department has put the losses at ₹15.30 crore. Procedures for compensating the affected farmers were under way, Ms. Jayasree said.