Ananya Padhihary

With the low-pressure area over the Andaman Sea is likely to intensify into a depression today and stroke fears of a cyclone for Odisha, the farmers across the State have resorted to 'panic harvest' fearing crop loss.

Farmers are concerned that incessant rains under the influence of the impending cyclone may sabotage their chances of a substantial harvest. As a result, many of them have started harvesting immature paddy crops to avoid being harmed by rains and strong winds during the cyclone.

Under high stress, farmers are wrapping up their work of harvest and dispatch the grains to safer places before the spells of rain begin. 

“It would take around 10-15 days for the paddy crops to mature for harvesting. But if it rains, the crops will be damaged completely. I have no other option but to contain in whatever harvest I get from these. There are also no plastic sheets to cover the harvested grains and we are under high stress,” said a farmer from Nuapada while harvesting his half-ripen crop.

Nuapada District Collector Swadha Dev Singh said, “The news of inclement weather coming up has forced farmers to harvest the crop as soon as possible. As it is the season of harvesting the crops, most of the paddy crops are ready to be harvested. Farmers have been advised to store their produce after harvesting indoors or properly covered as per the advisory issued by OUAT. The Mandis have been kept open.” 

Similarly, the cyclone threat has worried farmers in the Bargarh district as it drowns their crop hopes this year. Unlike the previous year, when the farmer experienced drought, this year's crop harvest was good in the district.

The Odisha University of Agriculture & Technology (OUAT) on Monday had issued an advisory to farmers stating to harvest ripe paddy as soon as possible and 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.