The Federation of All India Farmer Associations (FAIFA) has urged the Central government to bail out the cyclone-affected Flue Cured Virginia (FCV) tobacco farmers by announcing adequate relief package.
FAIFA general secretary P.S. Murali Babu said that the FCV tobacco farmers had experienced losses of more than ₹6,000 crore with a drop in production from 325 million kg in 2014-15 to 210 million kg in 2019-20. The situation further worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Just when the farmers were trying to recuperate from the losses, the heavy rains under the influence of Cyclone Nivar just after the plantation dampened their prospects, he said.
About 40% of the crop in the 30,000 hectares under cultivation in the traditional tobacco growing regions (Prakasam and Nellore) was impacted due to submergence.
The heavy rainfall had shown significant impact on the crop in the State. Farmers would have to go for fresh plantations in the areas where restoration of crops was ruled out, he added.
As per the India Meteorological Department (IMD), in the FCV tobacco growing districts, the rainfall ranged between 150 mm and 200 mm across all the major villages in the last 36 hours.
Rainfall received ranged between 50 mm and 100 mm the West Godavari region.
The data illustrates the impact of Cyclone Nivar on the FCV and burley tobacco crops across Andhra Pradesh.
FAIFA national spokesperson Yashwanth Chidipothu said the rains turned out to be a bane for the FCV and Vinukonda burley farmers of Prakasam and Guntur districts.
The region has been experiencing downpour and heavy winds since November 25.
“Freshly sown samplings, which are less than 60 days old, in 10,000 hectares have been impacted adversely. The impact is so severe that the assessment of damage to the leaf and infrastructure is still in progress. In the burley-growing regions of Guntur and Prakasam districts, harvesting commenced in more than 7,500 hectares, resulting in complete loss of leaf in curing barns. Due to unexpected rains and heavy winds, 5 million kg in curing is exposed to rotting,” he said.