Himachal drought crop losses put at Rs 872 Crore

Shimla: A weak monsoon that damaged much of the offseason vegetable, maize and fruits crops across the state has left the government counting losses which revenue officials have put together at about Rs 872 crore.

Revenue officials put the kharif crop losses at Rs 624 crore and fruit
crop losses at Rs 248 crore because of deficient rains.

Speaking about the kharif crop losses JC Rana, director agriculture
said the damage to maize crop alone was about Rs 274.43 crore and high value off season vegetable crops worth Rs 288 crores suffered
extensive losses.

“Both these crops are mainly sown in rain-fed lands and a weak monsoon withered away much of what was planted,” he said.

Ashok Thakur, who has farmlands in Hamirpur said that despite sowing
the maize crop thrice, much of it was damaged because of insufficient

Rana said that the field officers have assessed 50 to 80 percent damage to maize and 60-70 percent damage to vegetable crop.

Losses of the paddy crop was put at Rs 29.16 crore, pulses at Rs 15.62
crore and potato at Rs 14.40 crore.

Of the 466,531 hectares under Kharif crops, only 424,000 hectares were sown this season.

Much of the fruit crops that are grown on terraced plantations have
produced undersized fruit, leaving many farmers with harvesting just
25 percent of the yield forecast at the start of the May.

Apple crop at altitudes has remained undersized, says Varinder Jaret,
an orchard owner from Kotgarh, and yields have fallen by more than
half of what the prospects were.

A revenue official disclosed that after collecting all field reports a
damage report has been prepared which has been sent to the central
government. A demand for Rs 608 crore relief has been sought, he said.

Under national calamity fund a request for immediate relief of Rs 216
crore has been made, he added.

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