Unseasonal rains in over 100 talukas across Gujarat have damaged standing Rabi crops, adding to the woes of farmers and aggravating the crisis in over a dozen rural districts.
The rains at the time of harvest have damaged a number of crops in Saurashtra, North and Central Gujarat districts.
In the last few days, heavy rain was reported in parts of Rajkot, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts, while light to moderate showers drenched many other places in the Saurashtra region.
Rains accompanied by strong winds and thunderstorms lashed Rajkot city, parts of Dhari, Savarkundla, Damnagar, and Lathi talukas of Amreli district, triggering serious concern among mango growers in the region.
Amidst reports of extensive damage to the standing crops, the State government on Tuesday ordered a survey on crop losses caused due to unseasonal rains in the affected districts of the State.
In the State Assembly, Agriculture Minister Raghavji Patel said that the survey would be done once the rains stopped.
“There is a forecast for unseasonal rains for the next two days and so we will get a final report on crop loss from the districts after that,” the Minister said.
The Opposition party has demanded a special compensation package for the farmers who suffered crop losses in the last few days.
“As per our reports from the districts, extensive damage has been caused by the unseasonal rains so farmers must be compensated as their crops got washed away before the harvest,” Congress MLA Amit Chavda said.
Meanwhile, in a farm-related development, the Gujarat government announced a ₹330 crore special package for onion and potato farmers who are distressed, as the prices of red onion and potato have crashed recently due to a glut in the market.
Announcing the package, Gujarat Agriculture Minister said that ₹70 crore of assistance to the Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) in Saurashtra was given under last year’s scheme where ₹2 per kilogram was paid as assistance to red onion-growing farmers.
Additionally, the government would provide ₹20 crore assistance as transport subsidy which included ₹750 per metric tonne of assistance for using road transport, ₹1,150 per metric tonne for using trains, and 25% of the cost (or ₹10 lakh) of transporting the produce for exports.
According to him, as per government estimates, seven lakh metric tonne of production of red onions during the current Rabi season, was expected.
For potato farmers of North Gujarat districts, ₹20 crore was earmarked as transport subsidy while ₹200 crore assistance to the farmers for storing potatoes, meant for local consumption, in cold storages between February 1 to March 31, 2023 would be extended.
Moreover, ₹20 crore subsidy would be given to farmers who sold their produce to the APMCs during the current season.
“There is a forecast for unseasonal rains for the next two days and so we will get a final report on crop loss from the districts after that”Raghavji PatelAgriculture Minister