Bolt from the blue for farmers

Bolt from the blue for farmers

The heavy Krithika rain that lashed the Davangere region has turned into a curse for farmers here. It not only threw life out of gear, but also caused an impact on crops in the process. The paddy crops that were lush green, and just about to be harvested were all gone, right in front of their eyes, while the farmers looked on, helplessly.

Such a scenario is not new for farmers, and they have always known the unpredictability of pre-monsoon showers.

If the rain had kept away for just a while, their granaries would have been full of rice by now.  
The plantains which were just about ripening would have fetched good profits. The coconut trees that were nurtured from the last 15 to 20 years, stood tall, and had borne fruit. It was about time sugarcane was sweetening too.

And then, it was time for the pre-monsoon shower to spell disaster.

As is the norm, paddy is harvested in the third week of May. But before the third week, the pre-monsoon rain set in, in the region, and the harvest was all lost.

Even farmers who were able to harvest their crop just ahead of the showers, have a lot to worry about.

The moisture can harm the heaps of paddy harvested and stored in the granaries. Wet paddy doesn’t exactly fetch a good price in the market.

Farmers’ plight

“We work hard through the year. But when it rains at the last minute, all our crops are washed away in the rain. And our efforts are all wasted. It’s our fate. There is no guarantee that the government will give us a compensation for the crop loss. The crop loss relief system that is in place is far from scientific.

“The paltry compensation that is given is barely enough to sustain us. The government is aware of the quantum of losses that the farmers have suffered.

“Though it knows that the compensation is not in keeping with the loss, the government has done nothing in that connection. 

“This is just another form of exploitation,” points out Belavanur’s farmer Rudrappa. Farmers from Chandranahalli, Tolehunase, Mudahadadi and Belavanur of Davangere taluk have suffered a lot of losses. Crops have been affected in a huge way in these villages.

The paddy crop in Malebennur hobli in Harihar taluk has been destroyed. The betel farms in the Hanagawadi area have also been destroyed.

Crop loss across the district
According to the district administration, the showers have caused a loss worth Rs 3.22 crore. Paddy, arecanut, plantain, coconut and sugarcane crops grown in 565 acres of land have all been destroyed.
Paddy occupied nearly 200 acres out of the 565 acres. Roads stretching across eight kilometers have also been ruined in the rain. A loss of Rs 40 lakh has been reported owing to the collapse of houses.

Betel farms affected in Channapatna
Farmers in the region are yet to recover from the blow that the pre-monsoon showers have dealt to them.

The rain that lashed Channapatna taluk has harmed betel farms in the region. Several coconut and mango trees have been uprooted thanks to the rain. The betel leaves would fetch farmers at least Rs 10,000 to 15,000 a month. Farmers here have been so distraught that they have failed to muster determination to ask the government for crop loss compensation. The betel leaf was the biggest source of income for several farmers in the Channapatna region.
“All our crops were destroyed within minutes, as the rain came down in torrents. Trees were uprooted, and farms that took years of care and attention to be raised, were all gone in seconds,” explains Menasinahalli farmer Appaji Gowda.

80 pc of farms hit

At least 80 per cent of betel farms spread across several acres of land in villages such as Bhuhalli, Menasinhalli, Vithalenahalli, Aralalusandra have been destroyed. This has meant a loss of Rs two crore,” according to unofficial estimates. It will take another year for these farms to regain their lost glory.

The crop loss compensation that the government provides is not of much help. For every hectare of crop loss, the compensation provided is Rs 2,000.

Most of the betel farms occupy 15 to 20 guntas of land.  The losses each farmer has suffered runs into anywhere between Rs 30,000 and Rs 40,000. But the compensation they can expect is barely Rs 350 to 400. “If the government doesn’t increase the compensation keeping in mind the changing scenario, it will be very difficult for them to come out of this difficulty,” explains Raitha Sangha’s district convenor Puttaswamy.

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