Extensive damage to Agra's potato and mustard crop, farmers on warpath
Farmers in Agra and its neighbouring districts are on the warpath demanding compensation for the heavy loss to standing potato and mustard crops by untimely rain and hailstorms.
The wet weather has caused extensive damage to the potato crop, in some areas up to 60 percent. The estimate of loss of mustard varies from 20 to 30 percent.
Fields are water-logged and the potato crop has begun to rot, said farmer Ravi Singh of Barauli Aheer.
Farmers in Etmadpur, Achnera and other blocks have come out in the open to demand immediate compensation.
Agra district is a major producer of potatoes at roughly 2.5 million quintals annually. The Khandauli area on the Agra-Aligarh road is known for its excellent quality product that is in demand by potato-chip making units.
"In February, the Agra region had 12 wet days. In January too, we received showers. The fields are still under water. In some areas the hail completely bulldozed the standing crop," said farmer Atar Singh of Bichpuri.
Farmers in Bah tehsil have organised several meetings and demanded urgent relief. A memorandum has also been sent to the local minister Aridaman Singh. In the Fatehpur Sikri and Kiraoli areas, the damage has been extensive and the farmers are alarmed.
The weather office forcast of more rains and wet conditions for another week has sent the jitters among farmers. Against the average February rainfall of 11.5 mm, Agra received more than 50 mm.
Reports said farmers' organisations were planning roadblocks on the national highways in the coming days.
(Posted on 04-03-2014)