Unseasonal showers, crops lying in mandis: Farmers across India fear the worst as IMD predicts more rainfall

Around 46% of wheat purchased this season is lying unlifted at the mandis and are at risk of water damage 

By Shagun
Published: Tuesday 02 May 2023
Photo: iStock

The recent spell of unseasonal rains in different parts of India including in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Telangana and forecast of more rainfall in the next few days has left the farmers extremely worried about their crops that are ready to be harvested and even about the produce lying in the mandis. 

In Punjab, almost 55,000 tonnes of wheat brought to the agricultural produce marketing committee mandis (wholesale markets) in 22 districts since the start of the procurement season on April 1, 2023 remains unsold.

Moreover, around 5.2 million tonnes of procured wheat is waiting to be lifted from the mandis and is at risk of water damage. 

The unlifted wheat is around 46 per cent of the total wheat purchased till date and more farmers are bringing their produce to the mandis every day. 

Meanwhile, rains and strong winds have also affected standing crops which are at the final stage of grain filling. Strong winds cause the plants to lodge or fall. The agriculture department has advised the farmers, who had sown late-maturing varieties, to cover their crops. 

Out of 22 districts in the state, except five, all the others have received ‘large excess’ rain in the last one week, according to data by India Meteorological Department (IMD), which has issued an orange alert (signifying heavy rainfall) in the state. 

Farmers have sown wheat over an area of 3.49 million hectares in Punjab during the Rabi season. 

In Maharashtra, around 20 per cent of standing onion crop has got damaged because of unseasonal rainfall, informed Bharat Dighole, president of Maharashtra Rajya Kanda Utpadak Sanghatana. The IMD has forecast more rain in the state in the coming days. 

“The rains have been continuing since March and farmers who harvested their onions after that have had to suffer huge losses because the quality of the crop has deteriorated. Currently, the crop is selling at Rs 3-4 per kg on average,” said Dighole. 

Meanwhile, in Madhya Pradesh, farmers have reported damage to moong and horticulture crops they had sown as summer crops, which are grown in the Indian subcontinent between Rabi (winter) and Kharif (monsoon). 

Inadequate infrastructure facilities in mandis have increased the farmers’ woes. 

“The rains started causing havoc since April 30. Farmers are worried about taking their crops to mandis because if the produce doesn’t get sold timely then the crop will be damaged by rain. Besides we are not able to prepare the fields for Kharif crops,” said Jeewan Binda, a farmer from Chapda Grahan village in Madhya Pradesh’s Narmadapuram district.

The IMD on April 29 had predicted that several states were expected to witness light to very heavy rainfall in the next few days. 

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