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Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

Untimely rain to delay paddy harvesting, procurement in Punjab, Haryana

cities Updated: Sep 30, 2019 01:10 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent

Untimely rain in Punjab and Haryana led farmers to put harvesting on hold and has left procurement agencies a worried lot. Flattening of crop was reported in parts of some cities like Karnal in Haryana, but officials in Punjab say crop in the state was saved from lodging (damage) as strong winds did not accompany the rain. Farmers whose paddy produce was unloaded in mandis could not get buyers as moisture content in the crop saw a sudden rise.

Concerns are mounting as more rain is predicted this week. “Any amount of rain at this stage is a cause of worry,” said director agriculture Punjab, Sutantar Kumar Airi, adding, “Due to the rain, the grain will get extra moisture, which takes time to dry and procurement agencies do not accept this.” He added that inputs that he had gathered suggested that strong winds had spared the state so far.

However, farmers are upset. “Last year too, there was rain at a crucial time, when kharif crops were about to mature. This had cost us dear with procurement agencies imposing large cuts in purchase price, citing the high moisture content,” said Sukhwinder Singh, a farmer from Samrala.

“Most of the crop, which was ready for harvesting has been flattened due to rain and wind. We have to wait for at least three-four days to resume harvesting,” says another farmer, Ishwar Singh, of Indri village, Karnal.

Already, there had been a 10% dip in basmati variety due to the rain, claimed commission agents, adding that the rate dipped between ₹200 and ₹300 per quintal on Sunday; the variety was now selling between ₹2,300 and ₹2,500 per quintal. Farmers also struggled to protect their produce with not enough sheds available in grain markets.

In Punjab, the coarse variety paddy, procured for the public distribution system, is sown on 22.5 lakh hectare; aromatic variety basmati occupies 6.3 lakh hectare; cotton over 4 lakh hectare and maize over 1.6 lakh hectare. All these crops are at the maturity stage.

Agriculture department officials added that picking of cotton had started and rain in that area at this time will be damaging to the crop. “If there is rain in cotton-growing belt now, it will damage the crop,” Airi added.

First Published: Sep 30, 2019 01:10 IST

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