Potato production likely to be hit by rains in Uttar Pradesh
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Sudden rains and hailstorms on New Year's Day in Uttar Pradesh may be bad news for potato farmers who are expecting a bumper crop to pay them rich dividends. The day-long downpour early on Sunday accompanied by thunder and lightning in some places will damage the crop at this point, farmers said. However, according to agriculture experts, the same rain will be a blessing for the wheat crop.
The main cause of worry for UP, which is the country's largest potato producing state, is that the downpour at this time may cause an outbreak of diseases in the standing crop. "Outbreak of diseases would not only lead to quality deterioration but affect the output," a state horticulture department official said.
This was corroborated by Rustom Singh, a farmer of the Agra belt. "Further extension of the wet spell could mean trouble for potato cultivators in the entire belt," he said, adding that the weather forecast states that there would be rain again on Friday. "If the situation continues, things may get worse as there will be heavy moisture content in the soil, which will harm the crop. Then the loss may go up to almost 40%. But if things get better and there is no more rain, the loss will be limited to 10-15%."
Pushpendra Jain, another farmer from the Agra belt, said predicted higher losses in areas with dark soil as it absorbs less water. "Places where the soil is unable to absorb water will see more damage. The moisture in the soil will lead to the shrinkage of leaves, thereby affecting the life cycle of the plant. In such cases, the loss will be as bad as 50%," he said.
"The new crop is expected in February. The next one week is very crucial. We are just hoping that there is no more rain now, otherwise the moisture in the soil will lead to fungus in the crop," said Dungar Singh, a farmer from Hathras.
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