Himansu Shekhar Rout

As skies are overcast with black clouds, several places in coastal Odisha experienced drizzle and light rainfall under the impact of cyclone Hamoon which has been intensifying over the Bay of Bengal. The forecast of possible cyclone and consequent rainfall has left farmers in the Mohana area of Gajapati district and coastal Kendrapara in a state of panic.  

Maize farmers in Gajapati have resorted to panic harvest now.

As per reports, to save their crops from the rain and gusty wind, the farmers, who are in a hurry, have started harvesting maize. Immediately after the harvest, they were seen carrying the maize straight to safer places while many others are milling the crops on the farmland itself. 

Farmers fear that the crops will germinate once exposed and soaked in rain. Narrating the reason for a hurried harvest, a woman farmer, Sushama Nayak of Mohana, said “We are worried to see overcast skies, signalling imminent rains. If crops are not harvested well before it rains, we will lose our crops and our entire labour will go down the drain. We are bound to harvest and mill the maize immediately.”  

Another local farmer Trinath Nayak voiced concerns over the possible cyclone, saying, “Maize is the only profitable crop for us in our area. Due to the likelihood of a cyclone, we fear crop loss. At this time, we want to take no risk by leaving the crops in the farmland. Rain will play spoilsport. We are taking all possible steps to ensure our crops are saved from rain.”
Farmers of coastal Kendrapara are also equally worried over possible crop germination due to the likelihood of cyclone-induced rains. Dakhinakhanda Bhola Pata area has not seen good paddy and pulse crops. They have raised paddy, vegetables, green grams, and black grams. They expect a good harvest this year, despite erratic rainfall.

Rabindra Mallick, a farmer of Bharigola in the district, said, “Farmers have always the risk from natural disasters which can’t be avoided. But the matter of concern is all our efforts and money that we have invested in raising crops will go to waste if the rain plays a spoiler. Gusty wind will flatten paddy crops while rains will lead to the germination of all crops. We are anxious to save our crops.”   

Souri Behera of Dakshinakhanda Bhola area echoed similar concerns. He said,” Be it paddy, horse gram, green gram, black gram, everything will be damaged if it rains or in case of gusty wind. All farmers in our area will lose everything.”

Report by Mihir Jati and Manoj Swain