Devastating rains in parts of Gujarat during the past fortnight has wrecked havoc in the state.
According to the initial estimates, the flooding of rivers and heavy rainfall has caused damage to the agriculture crop to the tune of Rs 700 crore (Rs 7 billion) in the state.
Most affected crops include pulses, cereals, vegetables, cotton and groundnut, which were either ready for harvest or in flowering stage.
“As per the preliminary estimates, the damage to overall agriculture including crops, vegetables and horticulture is around Rs 700 crore (Rs 7 billion).
“We do not rule out impact to groundnut and cotton crops.
“But the region-specific nature of rains has restricted the impact to these crops,” said Rajkumar, principal secretary - agriculture & co-operation, government of Gujarat. According to farmer sources, cotton, pulses, maize and oilseeds were adversely affected in the central Gujarat region.
Out of the total 26 million hectares of area covered under cotton in Gujarat, around 600,000 hectares fall under the central and south Gujarat regions, which was the worst affected in the recent spell of rains.
Farmers informed that thundershowers with heavy winds had damaged flowering in cotton and other vegetable.
Many believed that water logged fields would spoil the groundnut plants.
“The first picking of cotton will be lost in these regions.
“At many places, the plant was at flowering state and heavy rains with winds damaged that.
“Also, the quality may get hampered in cotton,” said a farmer source and a member of Bharatiya Kisan Sangh.
Gujarat is the largest producer of cotton with total cotton production of over 8.7 million bales (each of 170 kg) against 34 million bales nationally for 2012-13 estimates.
Also, over 90 per cent of India’s groundnut cultivation is done in Gujarat.
Groundnut area for the kharif season 2013 stands at around 1.6 million hectares in the state.
“So far, rains have not damaged groundnut or cotton crops in the state.
The only fear for groundnut is that the farms, which are located closer to dam sites or rivers where flood like situation was created, there could be some damage in groundnut crop,” said Govindbhai Patel, state agriculture minister of Gujarat.
Similarly, the state is a significant producer of pulses in the country with a close to half-a-million hectares of pulses cultivation including tur, moong and urad. India’s kharif pulses acreage stands at around 10 million hectares.
The impact of flooding of rivers and water-logging due to heavy rainfall was severe in the districts of Vadodara, Bharuch, Narmada, Surat, Vapi, Valsad and Dahod.
Around 90 per cent of the pulses cultivation in the state takes place in these districts.
Heavy rainfall in these regions led to overflowing of rivers Tapi, Narmada, Vishwamitri and Mahi, leading to flooding of the fields.
The regions of Saurashtra and North Gujarat also faced heavy rainfall, but there was lesser impact on crops such as groundnut and cotton.
“Some crops were sown early in May-June.
“They were ready for harvest so most of such crops were damaged. Central and south Gujarat regions are the worst-affected.
“Also, there are some instances of loss of cattle,” said Rajkumar.