Ananya Padhihary

Heavy rainfall triggered by Cyclone Jawad has left a trail of devastation for the farming community, not only in the coastal but also the south and northern belts of the State by damaging thousand hectares of crops sown across the districts.

Vegetable farmers also have suffered a huge loss due to the heavy downpour.

Particularly in the Khallikot Block of the Southern district Ganjam, which received the most rainfall, huge swaths of farmland were inundated by the erratic rainwater, triggering the massive loss in the crop yield for the farmers in as many as 29 Panchayats of the block.

The farmers across the region who resorted to 'panic harvest' after the cyclone alert fearing crop loss, rainwater also harmed their paddy crops lying in the threshing yards, since they were unable to store them in a safe place due to a shortage of facilities.

“I had harvested four acres of land with rice and vegetables like tomatoes, cauliflowers, cabbages and onions. The crops are now submerged in the rain water and are unlikely to be harvested now. I suffered a huge loss.”said a farmer Kiran Kumar Nahak from Ganjam.

Similarly, farmers in the Rambha area of Ganjam Block in the district are also under high stress for the massive crop loss in the area.

The situation of farmlands is almost the same in Jajpur district. Almost all types of crops have been battered by the storm in the district. Thousand hectares of the standing paddy crop are submerged in the rainwater. 

As reported by the Jajpur Agriculture Department, over 42,000 hectares of farmland were inundated by rainwater out of total 1, 00,000 hectares of lands harvested this year across the district. About 28,000 hectares of fields are still submerged in water. In addition, about 655 hectares of vegetable fields suffered extensive damage, reported the Horticulture Department.

A Central team is scheduled to visit Jajpur district on Monday for an assessment of the damages caused by the cyclonic storm. The team will hold preliminary discussions with the district administration officials ahead of the assessment, informed sources from the administration.

“Due to the cyclone, we failed to harvest the crop. The standing crops were damaged in rain and now we are under stress of how to repay the bank loan we have availed for cultivation. We hope after the assessment of the central team, the government will aid us financially as soon as possible so that we can tackle the misery." said a farmer from Jajpur Dhiren Sutar.

Several farmers in Balasore district bore the brunt of cyclone fury which triggered unseasonal rain ending their hope of a bumper harvest this time. 

"This year's harvest has been a disaster for me. Rainwater has submerged the vegetables in the field. No authorities have yet arrived to assess the damage." said farmer Ajay Kumar Sahu from Kismila area in Balasore district.

Under duress, Sahu went on to say that he and other farmers in the area had never received any government compensation.