Agri sector to suffer massive losses due to Maharashtra floods, say officials
The widespread floods in Sangli, Kolhapur and Satara districts are expected to cause huge losses to the agricultural sector in the region. As per initial estimates, livestock by the thousands and cropping area of around 1.5 lakh hectare has been lost in the floods.
The State agricultural department is expecting a massive hit on the kharif crops such as sugarcane, rice and soyabean among others.
Pune Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar said, “A total of 585 villages have been affected due to the floods in Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara, Solapur and Pune districts. As per primary reports, we expect a huge cattle loss in the affected areas. Animal husbandry teams have already been deployed in these areas.”
Vijay Ghawate, joint director of agriculture, Maharashtra said, “Kolhapur and Sangli which are part of the sugar belt of Maharashtra are the worst hit. We are yet to assess the extent of damage as we are unable to reach the affected areas. But as per initial estimates, cropping area of 1.5 lakh hectares have been washed out,” said The agriculture department has ordered a detailed panchnama (spot assessment) of damage to crops.
Apart from damage to crops, farm infrastructure like drip irrigation, pipeline, electricity supply, bore wells has been destroyed to a large extent.
Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur districts collectively account for 50 % of the total sugarcane area in the state. Farmers are worried about the fate of the cane plantations with the crops submerged in the flood waters for more than 72 hours as crushing season will begin in October.
Rahul Sadafule, a farmer who has planted cane on six acres of his land in Ashta, Sangli district said, ”Already, our cane is standing in the water for more than 72 hrs and as a result the roots have started rotting. We have to wait for more than three months for harvesting. It is difficult to crush such cane.”
Ganesh Jadhav, an agronomist at Mahatma Phule Agricultural University said the prolonged exposure of the cane roots to water will lead to rotting and adversely affect the sucrose content.