Brought to their knees by Hudhud

Coconut farmers are left with no means of livelihood. Usually they take money in advance from traders towards three-year produce. But with the trees either fallen or their tops blown off, they have no means of clearing their dues.

Updated - November 17, 2021 11:04 am IST

Published - October 27, 2014 11:47 pm IST - OMMIVARAM (Visakhapatnam district):

Uprooted coconut trees in Munagapaka mandal of Visakhapatnam district. Sugarcane and coconut were worst hit by the cyclone. Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam

Uprooted coconut trees in Munagapaka mandal of Visakhapatnam district. Sugarcane and coconut were worst hit by the cyclone. Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam

In one devastating sweep, cyclone Hudhud has flattened three generations of coconut trees in the rural areas of the district.

“The trees that have been planted by our grandfathers, fathers and us have been lost in the cyclone. It will take us a long time to grow trees again and get income from them.

We have no alternative but to work as security personnel or labourers in some organisation or the other,” says Nageswara Rao, a farmer at Ommivaram of S. Rayavaram mandal.

A fortnight after Hudhud left them with no means of livelihood that they knew for a lifetime, they sit in a huddle, crestfallen, at the village square mulling over their future which appears quite bleak.

The cyclone has delivered a double blow to them, says Nageswara Rao.

Usually they take money in advance from traders towards three-year produce. But with the trees either fallen or their tops blown off, they have no means of clearing their dues. Farmers say 70 per cent of the crop loss in their mandal was that of coconut.

“Even Nilam and Phailin (cyclones in the past two years) have hit us hard. But we were confident at that time that we can bounce back by growing the crop again with what was left behind. Hudhud has totally devastated us,” said an elderly farmer.

It takes five years for a hybrid variety of coconut to yield and 10 for desi variety. Farmers are at a loss not knowing how to overcome the loss.

“With just eight to 10 coconut trees a farmer can support himself all through the year. Now with such a loss he has to turn to some daily wage employment,” says a local leader.

The Horticulture Department of the State Government estimates that loss to various crops in 51,688 ha has affected 1.03 lakh farmers causing a loss of Rs.165 crore.

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