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Assam floods wreak havoc on agriculture amid corona

The “season of annual” Assam floods has begun over incessant rainfalls with the onset of monsoon. This has already affected major districts of the state: Lakhimpur, Darrang, Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Goalpara, Nalbari, Tinsukia, West Karbi Anglong, Hojai, Nagaon.

As per the data released by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), hundreds of villages have been affected with the highest being 356 villages in a single day. The situation has been further worsened with the onset of corona virus pandemic that has already halted impacted the farming sector with lower demand.

Farming exploits

As per the ASMA data, farmlands in Nagaon, Hojai and Goalpara have been affected the most.

Inside Northeast visited the remotest areas where the floods have taken a huge toll. In the Morigaon district, Monhar has been badly affected by floodwaters submerging the crops. The farmers are now faced with a difficult situation as they are under debt from the bank and other informal sources. “I have taken at least Rs 40,000 credit. How will I now payback after this loss?”, said a farmer who is trying to salvage his crops amid the water.

Also read: Assam floods: Over 18,000 people in relief camps amid heavy rains

In the nearby Dehkifala areas, around 500 plus bighas are under floodwaters. One of the helpless spoke to Inside Northeast, “we are making temporary boats and cutting our paddy. We need govt intervention, otherwise, how will we eat?” In Lahorighat, farmers are cutting their paddy in advance and to salvage the seeds.

Affected land and area (maximum)

  • Day 1 – 2,678 hectares with Nagaon hitting the highest with 1050 hectares
  • Day 2 – 21572 hectares with Hojai hitting the highest with 4889 hectares.
  • Day 3 – 24755 hectares with Hojai hitting the highest with 7650 hectares
  • Day 4 – 26977 hectares with 12104 in Goalpara.

Livestock

In PM Modi’s fiscal stimulus, the govt has equally given importance to livestock and dairy. It has considered them under farm allied activities. In Assam, floods have massively affected the livestock and especially women who hold this livestock as a resource.

Significant loss of animals

DAY 1- 28,253 big 16,078 medium 9350 poultry.
day 2 – 45981 big, 23236 medium, 40725 poultry
Day 3 – 52561 big, 21833 medium, and 51032 poultry.
Day 4 – 54075 big, 21669 medium, and 102390 poultry.

This comes at a time, when the pigs are already facing African Swine Fever and domestic consumption of animal allied products have lessened immensely.

Course of action: Assam

Going forward, a lot of will depend on how these farmers are rehabilitated as they need government intervention. This also calls for a proper flood control policy so that these routine flood damages can be avoided the next year. Another important point will be to free the farmers from the debt they have acquired as a result from slow business in the corona lockdown along with the violent floods.

The first wave of the annual flood has submerged several parts of the state leaving thousands homeless

Posted by Inside Northeast on Wednesday, June 3, 2020

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