Farmers worried as rain delays paddy, cotton harvest in Malwa
Punjab’s cotton and paddy growers are left worried about the loss of quality of their ready-to-harvest produce after untimely rain lashed south Punjab on Monday evening.
According to an official survey conducted by the field staff of the state agriculture department, Muktsar was the worst-hit district where about 10% damage to the paddy was assessed.
Muktsar agriculture officer Gurpreet Singh said Malout, Lambi and Gidderbaha bore the maximum brunt of rains.
Farmers of Bathinda and Mansa districts said they were already braving losses caused by pink bollworm attack and the inclement weather would hit them further.
Picking of cotton is underway, whereas paddy harvesting in Malwa is yet to pick up. The wet conditions will now stall reaping till the weekend.
According to the Punjab Agricultural University’s observatory at the Bathinda-based regional research centre, Bathinda recorded 70mm of rainfall on Monday evening. Strong winds were reported from Bathinda, Fazilka, Muktsar and adjoining places.
Unsold raw cotton at several mandis of Muktsar, Bathinda and Fazilka was damaged due to sudden showers in the evening.
Officials of the state agriculture department said rainfall at this juncture would affect the quality of cotton bolls and paddy grains.
“Initial field inputs suggest lodging of cotton and paddy crops at several places across the state. Rains are undesirable for kharif crops as paddy and cotton are ready for harvest,” said Bathinda chief agriculture officer Manjit Singh.
Cotton harvesting would be stalled for at least five days following rain in various parts of the Malwa region, said Manjit Singh, who also holds the dual charge of Mansa district.
“Unfriendly weather conditions will also push paddy harvesting, which is yet to gain momentum, by four days. Farmers are being advised to delay harvest,” he said.
Sharanjit Singh from Mann Khera village of Mansa district said inclement weather would be a double whammy for farmers. “Pink bollworm attack has done considerable damage to the crop. Late harvesting of cotton and paddy will further delay wheat sowing in the area. We are keeping our fingers crossed to tide over these challenging times,” he said.