Unseasonal rain damages rabi, apple crops in Himachal Pradesh | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Unseasonal rain damages rabi, apple crops in Himachal Pradesh

It has been raining woes for farmers since February as rabi crops have been damaged on lakhs of hectares in the state. The apple crop, which contributes 4% to the state's economy, has also been hit by unseasonal showers and hailstorm.

punjab Updated: Apr 16, 2015 19:42 IST
Gaurav Bisht

It has been raining woes for farmers since February as rabi crops have been damaged on lakhs of hectares in the state. The apple crop, which contributes 4% to the state's economy, has also been hit by unseasonal showers and hailstorm.

According to rough estimates, rabi crops on 3.92 lakh hectares have been damaged in the state. The state agriculture department, which had set up a target of 711.5 thousand metric tonnes (MT) of foodgrains this rabi season, had assessed the loss to the tune of Rs 59.22 crore of which Rs 10.12 crore is on the wheat crop, which has been damaged on 56,711 hectares. Excess rain has also delayed wheat harvesting on 3.58 lakh hectares in the state.

Kangra worst affected

The maximum damage to the wheat crop - around 20% - has been reported in Kangra district. Reports reveal that wheat on 40,000 hectares has been damaged in the district. The inclement weather has also affected barley, potato, pulses and vegetables crops across the state. Reports say potato crop on 1,150 hectares has been damaged.

Marketing official of the state Agriculture Produce Marketing Board SR Kashyap said wheat procurement in the state would start from April 21. However, farmers are getting good returns from the pea crop. "Though the rain has damaged crops in Himachal, but intensity is not as high as in the neighbouring states," he added.

More rain expected

Shimla meteorological centre director Manmohan Singh said the state received a record 189.4mm of rainfall in March this year.

The earlier record was 174mm in 2007. "The state may receive more rain accompanied by hailstorm in the next few days. Fresh western disturbance will affect the western Himalayan region after April 19," he said. The state has recorded 243mm of rainfall between march 1 and April 15 against the normal rainfall of 138mm, he added.

The prolonged winter spell has caused a loss of around Rs25 crore to stone fruit and apples. Agriculture department records reveal that rain has damaged stone fruit on 4,000 hectares and apple on 1,000 hectares in the state. The inclement weather has also hampered the pollination process in apple orchards.

Worrying figures

-Rabi crops on 3.92 lakh hectares damaged

-Total loss assessed at Rs 59.22 crore

-Stone fruit and apples on 4,000 hectares affected

-March wettest in state with 189.4mm of rainfall