BHUBANEWAR: Even though large parts of the state have been hit by low pressure-induced rains over the past two days, causing extensive damage to standing rice crops, the Agriculture Department appears oblivious to the plight of farmers.
Non-seasonal rains during the harvest of paddy, Odisha’s main Kharif crop, have reportedly damaged crops in the coastal districts of Ganjam, Balasore, Puri, Khurda, Kendrapara, Jagatsingpur and Nayagarh. With 135mm of rainfall, Ganjam is the most affected and the chances of harvesting the crop appear low in the district.
In the absence of official information on the extent of damage to Kharif crops, the only option left is the government e-governance portal Agrisnet, which provides information services to farming communities. The Agrisnet project was conceptualized with the vision of creating a technology-enabled, interconnected network that can deliver “information services” effectively to the farming community.
The Directorate of Agriculture and Food Production has been mandated to provide a weekly report on harvests and weather conditions via the portal. Known as the Crop Weather Monitoring Group report, it contains vital statistics such as cultivated area of different crops, availability and supply of agricultural inputs, rainfall regime, and advice to farmers on activities. agriculture, from preparing fields to sowing seeds, applying fertilizers and pesticides to the soil. harvest crops.
However, the weekly report uploaded every Saturday of the week was last updated on September 29. Management has been asleep since then and has not issued any advice to farmers when they need it most. The common refrain from officials is that they are not authorized to issue the opinion or that they do not have any updates.
The Special Relief Commissioner advised farmers to move their harvested paddy to safe places and stack it under suitable shelter to avoid further losses. Ganesh Nayak, a farmer from Ganjam district, said it was not possible to harvest the crops due to the congestion of the farms.
While the harvest has started in the districts of western Odisha, the late term paddy is generally harvested in the coastal districts from the second week of December.