Unseasonal rains damage wheat crop, vegetable cultivation in UP

Lucknow, March 21 : Unseasonal rains accompanied by strong winds reported from most parts of Uttar Pradesh in the past two days have caused considerable damage to crops, mainly wheat. Crops have been flattened in the fields due to the heavy downpour accompanied by strong winds. Vipul K. Singh, a farmer from Sultanpur, said, "Most of the early sown varieties of the crop are at a semi-ripe stage. Flattening of the crop at this stage will cause shrinking of immature wheat grain leading to a fall in the yield." However, some agriculture experts are of the view that there will be only partial impact on the crop, but more rain at this stage could be harmful and will delay the harvesting. Farmers said the rain is beneficial for the lateral varieties of wheat and vegetables, but the strong winds that cause flattening will damage the yield. Uttar Pradesh is one of the biggest producers of wheat and a large part of the damage is being caused by flooding of fields. "Lower crop yields will cut India's wheat output for the second consecutive year, making it difficult for the state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) to shore up its depleting stocks," said an official. A sudden rise in temperature had hit the wheat crop earlier this month. Last year, a heatwave had cut the country's wheat production. "The wheat crop looked promising until early March when the weather became unfavourable due to a rise in temperature and then the rains came along with hail that damaged the crop," said Shivnath Ojha, a farmer from Pratapgarh. Rains and hailstorms have also hit chickpea and potato crops, farmers said. Vegetable cultivation has also been affected in places where fields have become water-logged. "Potato crop has started becoming unfit for consumption because of rain and water logging," said Ojha. Although it is too early to know the extent of the damage, the government has directed all district magistrates to make an assessment of the crop damage and send their reports to the state government by the end of this week. The situation, however, could worsen for the farmers since the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted more rainfall this week. /IANS


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