Fani fury hits farmers hard; crops worth lakhs damaged in Puri, Khurda

Farmers who took pains to grow the costlier moong and oilseed (til) crops after taking loans, are now in a state of stupor. One thing nagging their minds is how to repay the incurred loan

Bhubaneswar: In every natural disasters, its farmers who are left high and dry. And Fani is no exception. The extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani has dealt a death blow to the farming community and animal husbandry sector alike in the cyclone hit areas, especially in Puri and Khurda districts.

The costlier rabi season crops that are ready for harvesting stands devastated by the gusting winds of Fani. In no time, the standing paddy, moong, til crops and betel plantations were on the grounds submerged in knee-deep water. Farmers who took pains to grow the costlier moong and oilseed (til) crops after taking loans, are now in a state of stupor. One thing nagging their minds is how to repay the incurred loan.

“I have taken a loan of Rs 80, 000 to cultivate betel crop. The entire crop stands damaged now. The farming community are at wits end now. How could the loan be repaid? The only option left for us is taking up some labour work outside the State,” said a betel farmer at Balianta in Khurda district.

It’s not Balianta alone. While the neighbouring Balipatana block has also seen massive destruction of betel plantation, the story of large-scale crop damage is discernible all along the coastal districts of Puri, Khurda, Cuttack and Jagatsinghpur.

Not only betel and rabi crops, horticultural crops like coconut, banana in Puri district have seen massive damage. These remunerative crops, though are costlier, give the financial cushion to the farmers in the district. Horticultural growers in the district are in a quandary now as they incur huge debts to grow these horticultural crops.

Fani hasn’t broken down the spine of farmers, the animal husbandry sector in the districts of Puri, Khurda and other coastal areas witnessed a large-scale destruction affecting especially the fish farming ponds and poultry sector.