Mrunal Manmay Dash

With a low pressure brewing up in South Andaman Sea stroking fears of a cyclone for Odisha, the farmers of the State, particularly from the South and coastal belts are losing sleep for fear of suffering losses just before the harvesting period. Cyclone Landfall Likely Between Andhra Pradesh's Kalingapatnam And Odisha's Gopalpur On Dec 4.

From Ganjam to Rayagada and Gajapati, farmers of the Southern Odisha districts have switched on the panic mode and are on an overdrive to safeguard their crop from the ensuing rains predicted on December 2 and 3.

Farmers who have standing crops and are yet to harvest it are particularly distressed. In case of heavy rain during the period, they fear it would be impossible to harvest their crop which are yet to ripe.

Yudhistir Behera, a farmer from Aska in Ganjam said, “The recent unseasonal rains have already damaged 70 per cent of my crops. And the imminent low pressure will surely wipe out all chances of a compensatory yield.”

Similarly, Salma Mandangi, a farmer in Mantrajhola, Rayagada who was busy harvesting her half ripen crop said, “I have no other option. The rains will desroy all my crops here. I will have to contain in whatever harvest I get from these. Something is always better than nothing," she lamented.

The Odisha University of Agriculture & Technology (OUAT) on Monday had issued an advisory to farmers in view of expected rainfall in the State triggered by a low pressure between November 30 and December 2.

The premier institute's experts have advised farmers across the State to harvest 85% ripe paddy as soon as possible before the spells of rain begin.

Furthermore, the farmers have been advised to perform threshing and cleaning works to dislodge the grains, if possible, or simply store their produce in a safe place and cover it with plastic sheets. This will protect the stock from getting wet.

Meanwhile, in view of the low-pressure forecast, the Special Relief Commissioner has sounded alert for all Collectors and instructed them to remain prepared for the situation.

The SRC has emphasized to ensure the safety of the paddy stock in mandis and farmers have been suggested to transfer the harvested paddy to safe places to avoid damage in rain.