Rain, hailstorms hit wheat, fruit crops in Himachal

  • Naresh K Thakur, Hindustan Times, Dharamsala
  • Updated: May 12, 2014 14:56 IST

The unseasonal rain coupled with hailstorms and squall has worried farmers across the state, wreaking havoc on Rabi crops and fruit crops in the midst of harvesting season.

The damage has been severe in lower parts of the state, including Kangra, Hamirpur,Bilaspur, Una and Mandi, where wheat harvesting is in full swing.

The distressed farmer said nearly 20- 25% wheat crop has been destroyed by the untimely rain.

“We were hoping a good wheat production this year. However, sudden rain has destroyed everything, as the harvested crop was still lying in the field. If rain continues for two to three days, the crop may rot,” said Chattar Singh, a farmer in the Sarkaghat area of Mandi district.

Wheat crops at several places, including Palampur, Dehra, Nurpur, Jawali and Fatehpur area of Kangra- the largest wheat producer district in Hiamchal, were spoiled because of rain and high velocity winds on Saturday evening.

A farmer from Sakoh area of Dharamsala, Kamaljeet, said with the weather playing a spoilsport, the crop in fields where water remained stagnant and did not drain out has been the worst affected.

Meanwhile, there were also reports of damage from several other parts of the state.

The total area under wheat cultivation in Himachal is 3.30 lakh hectares and annual production around 690 metric tonnes. Kangra has the major share in wheat production with over 90 thousand hectares land under wheat cultivation. The other major wheat growing districts are Mandi, Kullu, Hamirpur, Una and Bilaspur.
Besides, the wheat crop, unseasonal rain and hailstorms have also hit the tropical fruit crops, including litchi and mango grown in the Kangra district.

Litchi growers in the region, who were expecting high yield in view of sufficient flowering, were now worried as their crops have been damaged. “The extent of damage could not be ascertained, but the production will be definitely affected,” said a fruit grower Ramesh Chand.

The farmers were also expecting a bumper mango crop this year. However, first the prolonged winters delayed the fruit setting and now untimely rains were wreaking havoc dashing the farmers’ hope of reaping extra benefit this year.

Meanwhile, the meteorological department has predicted more rain in various places of the state till May 15.

Heavy rain damages crops in Hamirpur

Heavy rain with high velocity winds on Saturday night and Sunday caused widespread damage to standing as well as harvested crops of wheat in all parts of the district.

Sources said 25-40% crops have been damaged in the district. Besides, the wheat crop, fruit crops was also damaged. People who were hoping to get bumper crop this time were upset as flowers of fruits on most of tress fell on the ground.

Meanwhile, there were reports that the state government has directed the district authorities to report them about the detailed losses being caused to the Rabi crops as well as the fruit crops.

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