Rains leave farmers and food processing industries reeling

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Farmers and cottage food processing industries in Karnataka have been hit hard by the pre-monsoon rains that have been battering the state for several days now.

The revenue department estimated the extent of crop losses at 7,010 hectares of farmland while horticultural crops on 5,736 hectares were also destroyed, according to government sources.

During a review meeting with all deputy commissioners on Saturday, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai asked agriculture, horticulture and revenue officials to carry out a joint investigation into crop losses across the country. the state.

While agriculture has been hit, horticulture has been badly affected, said Kuruburu Shanthakumar, president of the Karnataka Sugarcane Growers Association.

While winter is the usual harvest season, farmers grow short-term crops like pulses and vegetables during the summer.

“Sometimes vegetables bring good income. But this year, heavy rains have destroyed almost 50% of the vegetables. Farmers who have been hit hard by the Covid crisis now face an additional burden.”

In districts such as Davanagere, the rains not only disrupted paddy and ragi harvesting activities but also affected their quality along with the humidity.

If the rains continue for a few more days, producers will be in great difficulty. Farmers in Dakshina Kannada said even the production of boiled rice from the Rabi crop has been affected. The crop harvested in March this year has not yet been boiled and dried in many places.

The mango harvest did not escape the ravages of the rain either.

Ganesh, representative of Chitradurga Agricultural Producers Organization told DH, “Due to strong winds and hailstones, we lost mango blossoms and even unripe fruits, which had to be harvested soon. As things stand, the flowering was less this time around and the rain caused further damage.”

food preparation

Industries involved in the processing of fruits such as mango, banana and jackfruit in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada districts are on fire.

Shashikala, who is part of the Shree Sanga Sanjeevini self-help group in Mangaluru, said pickle preparation was affected due to torrential rains.

“Gherkins prepared without preservatives are contaminated with fungi due to rain. We also do shrimp pickle. Due to the ban on fishing due to cyclonic conditions at sea, the supply of shrimp pickles has also been reduced this time,” she said.

Pradeep, CEO of the Farmers Producer organization in Vitla, said value-added jackfruit products like papad and crisps have suffered from the rains and lack of sunshine. “We started processing bananas and jackfruit in May this year. We had to stop in a week because of the rains,” he said.

(With contributions from Mangaluru, Davanagere and Mysuru offices)

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