India: Unexpected downpours in Pune damage leafy crops
Heavy rainfall has battered vegetable crops in some growing regions around Pune, leading to concerns that yields will be negatively affected.
Rains fell at such an alarming rate over Saturday (Feb. 29) and Sunday (March 1) that farmers were helpless to combat flooding in fields cultivating leafy vegetables such as spinach, gourd and coriander.
Although it is too early to pinpoint exact quantities, there are concerns the unseasonal rain showers will impact the final volumes of some crops and affect the supply and price of vegetables over the next few weeks.
According All India Vegetable Growers’ Association president Shriram Gadhave, there could be up to 50% losses on some crops that are usually extremely popular and are staple vegetables for families in the area.
"The weather has been unusually bad in many parts of Pune and elsewhere over the last weekend and I don’t think we expected that to happen. It came as a big surprise." he told www.freshfruitportal.com.
"Regarding vegetable crops, it is the leafy vegetables that have been affected the worst. Spinach and coriander have been damaged and it will be very bad for these farmers because they are usually very popular on the domestic markets in and around Pune.
"Some crops will now also be at risk of developing mildew problems and the farmers will have to work hard and keep closely watching their crops to see if anything develops."
In some areas, cucumbers and tomatoes were also damaged as well as fenugreek, known as methi in India.
Aside from vegetables, standing crops of wheat were also damaged. This is especially devastating for producers because some of the crops were about to be harvested.
Meanwhile the sudden rainfall hit other parts of Maharashtra too where it is thought to have damaged some grape crops, which is particularly worrying for producers because the fruit was also in the harvesting stage.
According to reports in the Indian press, farmers in the region were caught off guard and heavy rains and thunderstorms were bad in the Nashik district.
Chief Minister of Maharashtra for the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Devendra Fadnavis took to Twitter on Sunday (March 1).
"Untimely rain is worrying. Have asked Chief Secretary to get the assessment of damages caused by it," his tweet says.