Unseasonal rains in last couple of months in the Jammu have damaged rabi crop causing a loss of over Rs 400 crore.
As per tentative damage report prepared by the agriculture department, more than 70% of rabi crop, including wheat, pluses, oil seeds, vegetables and fodder has been damaged by unseasonal rains extending to 100% in many areas. The losses could mount even higher, as the losses are assessed up to March 31 only. The Jammu region has experienced longer spell of rains in April as well, which, too, has caused more damages.
As per an official of the agriculture department, on an average four lakh tonnes of crop/produce is generated from rabi crop. After 70% damage, the loss comes to `420 crore.
"The rains have caused water stagnation in large patches, especially in the low-lying agricultural belts starting from areas of Akhnoor, Satwai, Miran Sahib, RS Pura, Suchetgarh and Arnia in Jammu district causing significant damage to rabi crops. Damage due to water stagnation and crop lodging is reported from Samba, Kathua and other districts also," said an agricultural department official.
The damage was earlier preceded by a dry spell of around four months till the first week of February. The sowing of rabi crop in the rainfed areas of the hills as well as the plains was delayed. Since February this year, the continued spell of rains frequented with interspersed hailstorms caused extensive damage to crops.
Official added, "The water inundation in fields, especially in the low-lying plains choked the roots and disturbed the smooth supply of nutrients and air to crop plants causing mortality of crop plants. The impact of heavy rains on the soil has caused damage to seed of okra (bhindi) and other vegetable crops also leading to poor germination."
Earlier, the flood fury and rains of September followed by a strong rain and windstorm in the first week of October 2014 dealt a serious blow to agriculture sector in the food grain bowl and basmati rice belt of the Jammu region. This was accentuated by the firing incidents from across the border, but bad weather has severely affected farmers.