Farmers suffer huge losses in recent floods

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Ashis Senapati, TNN | Oct 17, 2011, 11.42AM IST

KENDRAPADA: The recent flood fury in Kendrapada, Jagatsinghpur and Jajpur districts has affected standing paddy crops, threatening shortfall in crop production. Nearly one lakh hectares of paddy was submerged in these areas.

The secondary crops of sugarcane and jute were also affected in the floods, including a variety of vegetables, causing a further rise in the price of food stuff. The price of rice has shot up to Rs 300 to 400 per quintal over the last week, caused mainly by unscrupulous traders indulging in hoarding. Rice stocks are not freely available even at the high prices as a section of millers and wholesale traders have joined hands to create an artificial scarcity in the wake of reports that paddy production is likely to fall due to floods. The price of rice in retail market has jumped from Rs 17 a kg to Rs 20-22 a kg for preferred varieties.

"Between June and September we could not take up cultivation due to drought. And when the rains started, the floods left us devastated," said Ashok Swain, a farmer from Patalipanka.

"It's a difficult time for farmers. Farmers will find it difficult to recover from the blow of crop losses," said district secretary of Krusaka Sabha, Gayadhar Dhal. "The process of rescheduling crop loans, announced after the floods, has not yet started and now the banks will be required to complete formalities so that farmers can avail of fresh crop loans," said a senior officer of district agriculture office.