Crop on 4 lakh hectares of land damaged in 25 flood-hit areas in Bihar
Even as many districts continue to reel under floods, the state government has started making primary assessment of Kharif crop damage in over 20 districts owing to deluge, and estimates that crops on over four lakh hectares of land have been affected, officials said on Wednesday.
According to departmental sources, reports of crop damages in flood-hit districts have started pouring in, and the agriculture department will soon send a proposal to the disaster management department to sanction over ₹550 crore for providing crop input subsidy to affected farmers.
“ We are assessing crop damage. Currently, our assessment in 25 flood-hit districts indicates damages worth ₹550 crore. But, it could be more. We will be rolling out crop input subsidy soon to affected farmers after sanction of funds,” said agriculture secretary, N Saravana Kumar.
The official said that the sanction of funds would be done soon, and input subsidy to compensate affected farmers would be done at the earliest based on the final assessment report.
Earlier on Tuesday, chief minister Nitish Kumar conducted an aerial survey of flood-hit areas of Madhubani and Darbhanga districts. He also highlighted the government’s initiatives to provide monetary assistance to affected families.
Officials said the assessment process of crop damages has been fast tracked in last few weeks to provide support to affected farmers, and also ensure that paddy crop production target this Kharif season is not badly hit. In the current fiscal, the target of total cultivable area of Kharif crops ( paddy, maize, seasonal vegetables, pulses, sugarcane) is around 40 lakh hectares, of which the target of cultivating paddy is around 33 lakh hectares.
The production target of paddy this Kharif season is around 110 lakh metric tones with the targeted production of rice standing at around 80 lakh metric tonnes.
“ The production target depends on various factors, including quality of crops. But, yes, floods in over four lakh hectares of Kharif cultivable land has affected paddy crops to an extent. But, if crops are less damaged after water recedes fully, the production will be not be much affected,” said a senior agriculture officer.
In the last fiscal, rice production stood at 68.66 lakh metric tonnes, while the same was 68.24 lakh metric tones in 2019-20, according to agricultural department data.
Officials said the department has already provided seedlings in East and West Champaran and other north Bihar districts, where floods in mid-July damaged crops, so that farmers could sow alternative crops instead of paddy.