Showers, hail hit potato crop in Agra

Showers accompanied with hail in some areas lashed Agra district early Saturday morning, leaving farmers in this potato belt worried for the crop as it could be affected with diseases and yield poor quality.

Last Updated: Feb 26, 2011, 12:24 PM IST

Agra: Showers accompanied with hail in some areas lashed Agra district early Saturday morning, leaving farmers in this potato belt worried for the crop as it could be affected with diseases and yield poor quality.

The region around Agra produces more than 30 percent of the country`s total potato yield.

"We have had several rounds of heavy showers in the past two weeks. The potato crop could be badly affected with diseases, the quality could also deteriorate and those who were about to dig out the potato will now have to wait for the weather to clear up," said Ravi Singh, a farmer of the Barauli Aheer block of Agra district.

Farmers in Shamshabad block of Agra district, Khandauli block of Aligarh district, and parts of Firozabad district reported hail with gusty winds.

"The rains may be good for wheat, gram and pulses but for the potato cultivators the situation has turned alarming," farmer Jai Prakash Baghael said.

Several spells of showers in the past fortnight have caused worry to potato growers in the entire belt from Aligarh to the Rajasthan border.

Uttar Pradesh state Horticulture Department officials have advised farmers to wait for the moisture to dry up.

Deputy Director (Potatoes) Nand Lal and potato development officer JP Gupta said the inclement weather has hit the potato crop. There could be some relief if the cloud cover cleared.

Bichpuri Krishi Vigyan Kendra officials said this was the most challenging phase for the potato cultivators. The problem is to make the crop fit for cold storage.

Representatives of the potato cultivators` committee have already estimated a 20 percent loss. It could go up if the current weather conditions continue, they said.

However, the Agra Water Works authorities were relieved as the rain helped the Yamuna river, which had been reduced to a virtual drain and the pollutant levels in the water had gone alarmingly high.

IANS