Strong winds, rains damage 3,000 hectares of crops

PUNE: Rain and winds in Maharashtra in May have damaged close to 3,000 hectares of crops, mainly tomatoes, onions, mangoes and grapes, here preliminary data from the state agriculture department has revealed.A senior official from the state agriculture department said that crops on 2,500 hectares to 3,000 hectares have been damaged in at least seven districts, including Pune, Sindhudurg, Ahmednagar, Jalgaon, Nashik, Solapur and Satara. Standing crops over fields in the current season include vegetables and fruits. Though most mangoes were already harvested in Konkan, there are several regions in the state that harvest mangoes in May and June. Mango crop in such places was damaged due to inclement weather, the official said.Crops that were damaged included tomatoes, onions, mangoes, grapes, banana and pomegranate. The official added that though banana and grapes were harvested in some places, several others had not harvested these fruits. It was mostly the strong winds that damaged the crops, the official said.Shriram Gadhave, president, All-India Vegetable Growers Association, said that crops over 10,000 acres in north Pune, particularly in blocks Junnar and Ambegaon, were damaged. Apart from onions rotting due to moisture and premature pomegranate fruits dropping off and getting spoilt, we had reports of harvested bajra on fields getting damaged due to inclement weather. Though rains have been quite less in May this year, it was the strong winds that caused all the fruit dropping and damage, said Gadhave.Amit Naphade, director, MAHA Farmers Producer Company Ltd (MAHAFPC), said that some farms in Vidarbha were still to harvest cotton. These were damaged, apart from crops like pomegranate and lemons. The rains and winds caused premature dropping of lemons from trees, which are bound to affect lemon produce in the coming two to three months. The upcoming months normally fetch a good price for lemons and growers rely much on the crop, he said.