Anantapur: Groundnut crop in 4.8 lakh ha damaged due to incessant rains

Groundnut crop damaged due to excessive rainfall in Anantapur
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Groundnut crop damaged due to excessive rainfall in Anantapur

Highlights

  • Giriswamy, a farmer from Veerepalli Peddavadugur mandal, says insurance is applicable only when monsoon fails and not when crop yield is affected by excessive rainfall
  • Saradamma, a woman farmer in Gooty mandal, says the government should step in to rescue groundnut farmers whose crop suffered damage including poor yield

Anantapur: Around 58 per cent of 4.8 lakh hectares of groundnut crop had been damaged by incessant rains that lashed the district between June and July.

Excess rainfall had been recorded in the past two months resulting in damage to number of crops including groundnut, cotton, paddy, maize, ragi, jowar, castor, red gram, bajra, green gram and korra crops. 58 per cent of crop damage is a primary report as harvesting of groundnut and other crops are still in preliminary stage.

Groundnut is one of the most popular and universal crops cultivated in more than 55 mandals in Anantapur district and it ranked as the first most important oilseed crops of AP. In Anantapur, it has good potential as a legume crop due to its ability to add nitrogen to the soil, low cost production and multiple uses.

There are several factors responsible for low yield of this crop in which diseases and poor quality of seed play a prominent role. Rythu Mithra FPO president M Suresh Babu says that groundnut production is threatened by the presence of various pests.

The seeds of groundnut in this area are categorised into K6, Gujarat Junaghad Groundnut -32, Tag 24, ICGV 350 and KL (Kadiri Lepakshi 1812). There are recurrent losses in sowing groundnut since 2019. Only KL 1812 is suitable to these climatic conditions, at least it can be used as fodder.

The cost of fuel for tractor, tiller and other agriculture operations had increased extensively since 2019. Diesel prices had shot up from Rs 69.20 paise a litre to Rs 100.24 from 2019 to July 1, 2021.

While prices had been shooting up for farm labour and material and making farm operations extremely expensive, the returns on farm produce is however very disappointing as the average farmer is failing to get remunerative price on their produce and sometimes when a particular commodity is excessively produced is resulting in distress sales at throw away prices, he added.

During the past one year, the cost of ploughing the land has increased from Rs 900 to Rs 1,300 per acre and the cost of tilling from Rs 1,000-1,500. Similarly, cost of sowing has shot up to Rs 1,500 from Rs 900 per quintal. For, de-weeding operations, the cost has increased from Rs 1,200 per 6 hours to Rs 2,400.

For spraying out pesticides, the rent of spraying machine has doubled from Rs 720 to Rs 1,440. Similarly, for crop harvesting, the cost of labour of 8 persons has increased from Rs 1,600 to Rs 3,200, cost of collection of harvested crop from Rs 900 to Rs 1,600 and the cost of loading of one bag of produce has also shot up to Rs 140 from Rs 100. In 2020, the total cost of these operations was Rs 12,000. The same increased to around Rs 20,000 in 2021.

Giriswamy, a young farmer of Veerepalli Peddavadugur mandal, told The Hans India that the groundnut crop yield is very low and the saddest part is that the crop insurance being climate-based does not compensate for yield loss.

The insurance is applicable only when monsoon fails and not when crop yield is affected by excessive rainfall resulting in damage to groundnut or when it gets rotten by excessive rainwater. Already an impression of good rainfall and great harvest is created and insurance companies will now have no role to play, says leaders of farmers' welfare organisations.

Saradamma, a woman farmer cultivating groundnut in 8 acres of land in Gooty mandal, says the government should step in to come to rescue of groundnut farmers whose crop suffered damage including poor yield. The government's failure to provide alternative employment, decent irrigation facilities, good seeds and adequate relief measures has only worsened the situation.

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