Kerala Farmers Count Losses as Rising Temperatures Take Toll

Rising temperatures and drought have inflicted significant losses on farmers in Kerala, with an estimated Rs 500 crore worth of damage incurred over the past three months. According to a review conducted by an expert committee formed by the agricultural department, approximately 46,690 hectares of farmland have been affected, resulting in immediate losses of Rs 250 crore across 23,569 acres of land. When factoring in production losses, the total damage could surpass Rs 500 crore, impacting around 56,947 farmers directly.

The review committee, tasked with assessing various factors including crop growth, production shortages, long-term negative impacts, and crop health, visited several districts on a block-level basis to gauge the extent of the damage. Its findings have been submitted to Kerala Agricultural Minister P. Prasad, hinting at the possibility of seeking relief from the union government to mitigate the losses.

Among the worst affected districts are Idukki, Thrissur, Palakkad, and Wayanad, where crops like cardamom, paddy, pepper, and bananas have suffered extensive damage. Notably, over 30% of cardamom cultivation faced damage, resulting in a 60% reduction in yield. Banana cultivation, primarily aimed at the Onam special market, witnessed significant setbacks across more than 2800 hectares of land. Other crops such as coffee and vegetables were also impacted, with Wayanad reporting losses in pepper cultivation across 419.5 hectares and coffee across 208 hectares.

The review highlighted the potential financial crisis facing around 60,000 small-scale and micro-scale farmers, as well as farm laborers, due to the drought. Areas experiencing total crop damage are anticipated to encounter shortages of resources necessary for sowing during the revitalization phase.

The situation underscores the urgent need for support and relief measures to assist farmers in Kerala in coping with the aftermath of the damage caused by rising temperatures and drought.

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