Crop losses for farmers likely to reach Rs6.4 billion

- BHARAT JARGHAMAGAR, SIRAHA

Jun 6, 2018-

Crop losses for farmers in the eastern Tarai district of Siraha are likely to reach Rs6.4 billion this year due to strong winds and hailstorms from April to May, the District Agriculture Office said.

The district has been facing huge losses every year due to climatic stress like floods, storms and hailstorms as farmers lack proper knowledge about the state-subsidized crop and livestock insurance schemes that have been running for the last five years.

The government has been providing a 75 percent subsidy on the premium for agriculture related insurance policies to protect farmers from potential losses.

The insurance plan is also aimed at reducing expenses for the state as the government has had to compensate farmers for losses on many occasions. In 2017, the government paid out more than Rs1.5 billion in compensation to farmers who lost their crops during the August floods.

However, a majority of farmers including those from Siraha are unaware about crop insurance and the subsidy offered by the government. The government has made crop and livestock insurance mandatory, but the policy has not been effectively implemented.

Ram Chandra Yadav, a senior officer at the District Agricultural Office, said that insurance companies were not working actively to bring farmers under the policy. “As farmers are unaware about the process to insure their crops and livestock, the plan has not been as effective as expected.”

According to the District Agriculture Office, insurance policies covering fish farming and ‘chaite’ spring paddy worth Rs20.91 million were sold in Siraha last year. But the insured were commercial farmers, said Yadav.

“We have not even heard about crop and livestock insurance,” said Mishri Yadav, a farmer of Malhanwa who lost a large part of his mango crops this year. His mango orchard spread over 2 bighas was destroyed by storms and hailstorms last month.

The April-May storms had destroyed mango crops worth more than Rs5 billion in Siraha. But farmers will not be able to recoup their losses as they don’t have insurance. The storm and hailstorm destroyed mango, watermelon, pulse, maize and litchi farms, said the agriculture office.

Nearly 70 percent of the mango crop worth Rs5.75 billion was blown away by the strong storm, the office said.

Similarly, hailstorms destroyed watermelon crops growing on 310 hectares worth Rs74.4 million, vegetables cultivated on 925 hectares valued at Rs416.2 million, lentils cultivated on 398 hectares valued at Rs200 million, maize cultivated on 40 hectares worth Rs4 million and litchi crops valued at Rs20 million. The maize and millet output is expected to drop 50 percent due to the storm.

Published: 06-06-2018 08:02

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