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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Pre-monsoon rain, wind damage horticultural crops on nearly 9,000 hectares- Mrit News

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Just when farmers were recovering from the damage caused by last year’s monsoon rains, the pre-monsoon showers in May have wreaked havoc on horticultural crops in Karnataka, damaging crops on a total of 8,972 hectares, shows data from the Horticulture Department. The value of the lost crops is estimated to be over ₹95.55 crore. While Kolar, Belagavi, and Haveri were the worst affected districts, seasonal favourites mango and grapes besides banana were the worst-affected crops.

An official of the department said this kind of crop loss usually does not take place in May and cited the gusty winds as the sole reason for this extent of the damage. “The winds this time were such that even the roofs of polyhouses flew away. There was no way for farmers to protect their crops. Even if they used tarpaulin sheets, they would not hold against the wind. During monsoon, some horticultural crops rot because of the rain. But during summer rain, the wind causes the fruits and vegetables to fall off,” they explained.

Although the department collects data from each district, there is no system in place to find out the stage at which the crop was damaged. “We do not get to know if they were in pre-bearing or bearing stage as different farmers have different planting schedules. To find out their stages, losses need to be traced through a survey. It is very time-consuming. Hence if 33% of crops are damaged in a hectare, it is considered crop loss. Anything less than 33% is very common due to natural conditions,” the official said.

Kolar district, which was the worst hit with losses of crops on 6,341.83 hectares, also accounted for the highest quantum of mango losses. Out of the total mango loss on 5,925.92 hectares, fruits on 5,808.85 hectares were lost in Kolar district. Another major mango growing district, Chickballapur, saw loss of mango fruits on 33.58 hectares. Banana plantations were majorly damaged in Kalaburagi district (163.81 hectares). Out of the total 427.51 hectares of grapes lost in the month, Belagavi district accounted for 315 hectares.

Coming to vegetables, tomatoes were lost on 415.52 hectares while onions were lost on a total of 170.76 hectares. Other vegetables such as drumstick, chilli, and capsicum also took a big hit in the month. Two of the State’s major commercial crops —arecanut and betel vine — were also damaged on 148.27 hectares and 79.55 hectares, respectively. The data showed that 75.56 hectares of floricultural crops were also lost owing to the rain.

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