At least two lakh farmers with nearly 97,000 hectares (2.4 lakh acres) of paddy crop in Alluri Sitarama Raju (ASR) and Anakapalli districts of Visakhapatnam region are worried about the impending cyclone Michaung, which is likely to cross the Andhra Pradesh coast near Machilipatnam on December 5.
Even after crossing the coast and making a landfall, the cyclone is likely to remain active over the land and may recurve towards north-west direction from the Machilipatnam coast to the point where Anakapalli and ASR districts are located, as per the present forecast report based on the status of the weather system over the sea as on Saturday.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has also issued an `Orange’ (be prepared) alert for these two districts. The alert states that heavy to very heavy rainfall activity is expected to occur on December 5 with gusty winds of more than 50kmph.
“The remnants of the storm remain active over the land in the State for some time after landfall. These remnants sometimes also create another storm if they go back into the sea. In the case of this storm, the chances of are less for creation of another storm with the help of remnants, but there may be chances of re-curving However, it is too early to predict it. The winds carrying these remnant water droplets may move directly north-west over the State’s land. So, their route will be up to ASR and Anakapalli districts in north coastal AP region. So, farmers should be alert and take appropriate measures as per the instructions of the agriculture officials,” a senior meteorologist at the Cyclone Warning Centre in Visakhapatnam told The Hindu.
ASR district Agriculture Officer S.D.S. Nandh said that they have alerted the farmers who planted paddy crop in 52,000 hectares in their district. About 40% of the crops have been harvested so far, and the remaining 60% will have to be completed by December 15.
“We have also suggested an alternative solution of spraying salt solution (5% sodium chloride +95% water) per acre of the crop to get basic relief from discolouration and fermentation of the crop if the crop is damaged by the winds and rains of the cyclone. Also, we told the farmers to immediately move the harvested crops to any hilly areas and wrap them with any rain covers. There will be no impact on standing crops,” Mr. Nandh told The Hindu.
Agriculture officials of Anakapalli district have been continuously monitoring the cyclone situation through various communication channels.
“We have a total 1,10,743 acres of paddy cultivated area in our district. A total of 1,10,317 farmers own them,” said an agriculture officer.