Gangtok, 27 Mar:
A preliminary report received by the Joint Director [East], Food Security and Agriculture Development Department, farmers of 14 Gram Panchayat Units of East District have been severely affected by the continuous heavy rainfall, thunderstorms and hailstones since the evening of 22 Mar.
As per the report, crops like buckwheat, maize, mustard, cabbages, peas, potato and green leafy vegetables were razed to the ground in some areas. It is also informed that most of these crops were ready for harvest.
The affected GPUs, as per the report are Central Pendam, Budang Kamarey, Navey Sotak, Tadong Samdur, Sang Martam, Beng Phegyong, Assam Lingzey, Nandok Saramsa, Patuk Singbel, Khamdong, Sirwani Chisopani, Sumin Lingzey, Samdong and Timing.
Speaking to SummitTimes over the phone, KC Nepal, a progressive farmer-cum-general secretary of Farmers Producers Organization of Rakdong Tintek, said, “Most of the crops in villages under Samdong-Kambal GPU are totally damaged and cannot be harvested.”
According to him Buckwheat and Mustard fields are totally damaged and vegetables ready for supply to the markets have been destroyed. As per Mr. Nepal, maize seeds were recently sown and they can be sowed again.
He informed that Departmental officials have visited most of the areas and accordingly farmers have placed their grievances before the officials. He further informed that most of the buckwheat and potato fields are insured under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojana but vegetable farmers are going to suffer.
“Farmers at present are whole-heartedly dedicated towards organic farming but the losses incurred due to such natural calamities have disheartened them,” he said adding that it will be a good step if the government compensated the farmers as soon as possible to encourage them to continue farming.
Meanwhile, there is no data available on the amount of losses incurred by the farmers.
It is to be mentioned here that the ban on the import of several vegetables and crop items is scheduled to come into force soon in the state although no specific date has been provided so far. While most farmers have welcomed the ban, the recent weather conditions have definitely dampened spirits and roused concerns over the feasibility of such a ban.