Nagpur: The estimated flood-affected agricultural area in eastern Vidarbha stands at 2.04 lakh hectares. The area increased by 69,000 hectares two days after Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis visited the affected places. Before that, the primary estimate of the affected area was 1.35 lakh hectares.
Even as farmers face losses, crop insurance coverage remains far below. Until July 22, only around 35,000 hectares were covered by the prime minister’s heavily subsidized crop insurance scheme. So far, nearly 70,000 farmers have benefited from the insurance. Insured farms would get compensation for losses.
On the other hand, the total cultivable land for the kharif in eastern Vidarbha which comes under Nagpur division stands at 23 lakh hectares. Out of this, sowing was done in 13 lakh hectares. This means that barely 1.5% of the cultivable area is insured.
The insurance scheme will be open until July 31 and more farmers are expected to join by then. Nagpur division is known to have low agricultural insurance penetration compared to other parts of the state, sources said.
Last year, 2.85 lakh farmers had taken out insurance for crops spread over 1.69 lakh hectares of land. As the dates are often pushed back, it is hoped that farmers will have more time to cover themselves. Getting insurance can cover re-sown crops after losses from flooding, sources said.
The floods affected more than 2,200 villages. According to initial estimates, losses are greatest in Wardha with 88,000 hectares of cultivated area affected. Next comes Chandrapur with 55,000 hectares of land affected. These are early estimates, which would only be finalized after a joint investigation by the agriculture and revenue departments. Final numbers are expected to vary and even drop.
So far this year, no less than 2.38 hectares of cropland has been affected in the division. This includes January hail losses in which more than 33,000 hectares of crops were reportedly damaged. This amounts to 10% of the total cropland affected across the division this year.
Even though losses due to natural disasters remain a regular business in the division, insurance penetration remains rather low.
Every year, crops are affected due to floods, unseasonal rains or hail. In 2021, more than 53,000 hectares of agricultural land were affected for various reasons. In 2020, when flash floods hit Vidarbha, nearly 83,000 hectares were affected.
Farm activist Vijay Jawandhia said farmers were unwilling to get the insurance cover as they did not find the scheme favorable. The threshold limit for the insurance to be applicable is lower than the usual return, he said. Jawandhia said the state should not impose a cap on detention while declaring compensation. Normally, even if compensation per hectare is declared, it is limited to two hectares per farmer, he said.