Weatherman's predictions of light to moderate rainfall accompanied by strong winds in the next two days have wiped off smiles from the faces of farmers, who were otherwise hoping for abundant sunshine to enable them ferry their produce to grain markets.
Light rain and thunderstorms lashed various parts of Punjab on Thursday evening. Two mm rainfall recorded today at Adampur and drizzle at other places kept framers, traders and procurement agencies away from grain markets most of the time on Thursday.
"Rain is dangerous for the standing crops and will severely hamper harvesting in the state. Already, harvesting has been delayed by nearly 20 days. Rains in the coming days will put harvesting back by more by a week at the least," said farmer Baljinder Singh.
Another farmer Raj Preet Singh said, "Dip in temperature has already delayed harvesting. Farmers have no option but to pray to the rain god to have pity on farmers who are already experiencing poor financial conditions."
The Punjab agriculture department, on the other hand, has asked farmers not to panic and have patience. "There is no harm to wheat already in the grain markets as procurement agencies have enough arrangements to protect grains from rains. The situation is dangerous for farmers who have not yet started harvesting. We urge them not to panic and wait for sunshine. The weather is expected to clear out in a day or two," said agriculture director Mangal Singh Sandhu.
"It may add to the cost of harvesting but, certainly, if the farmers keep patience they will get sufficient yield from their fields. However, if they harvest in a hurry and their produce is not as per desired specifications, they are sure to bear loss," he said.
"We had reviewed the situation in the whole state and necessary directions have been issued to district heads to take care of the farmers, in a meeting held today," he added.
"We too are looking at the overcast skies and praying to God as certain things are beyond human control. State government is committed to safeguard farmers interest by all means," Sandhu said.