Vijayawada: Unseasonal rains, accompanied by gales, damaged several horticulture crops in nearly 1,696 hectares with an estimated loss of Rs 64.13 crore in parts of Andhra Pradesh.
Based on preliminary reports, horticulture crops like banana, cashew nut, cocoa, papaya, oil palm, coconut and several varieties of vegetables suffered great damage or loss in parts of five districts including Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, West Godavari, Guntur and Kadapa.
The horticulture authorities maintain that the untimely rain with heavy gales occurred in the last week and also on April 14. They assessed the number of farmers affected in the rains and gales to be 7,331 and input subsidy worth Rs 4.08 crore to be given to the eligible affected farmers whose crops suffered damages in more than 33 per cent area of their landholding.
The authorities claim that the gale was so powerful that they broke electric poles in the middle, and uprooted the stems of banana crops in parts of Chagallu, Denduluru, T. Narasapuram and Dwaraka Tirumala mandals in West Godavari. The banana plantations in parts of Kadapa, Guntur and Vizianagaram also bore the brunt.
The horticulture authorities claim that the chilli farmers saved the harvested crop which was kept on platforms for drying by covering them with tarpaulin clothes in anticipation of the rainfall.
Horticulture commissioner S.S. Sreedhar directed the officials in the affected districts to estimate the extent of crop damage due to the rains and gales and submit a final report soon.
Horticulture additional director K. Balaji Naik said, “We have received preliminary crop damage reports from five districts in the state due to rains with gales and we are taking necessary measures to provide input subsidy to the eligible affected farmers to help them resume cultivation.”