Even though Kalahandi was not affected much by the cyclone Phailin, adverse weather condition has led to extensive loss of cotton crop in the district.
As per the assessment report of the Agriculture Department, cotton was cultivated over an area of 43,056 hectares which is the highest cotton coverage area in the State. It was expected that the output would be more than six lakh quintals of cotton. However, heavy rain accompanied by cyclonic wind damaged about 20 to 25 per cent of the cotton in 8,534 hectares in Narla, Bhawanipatna and Kesinga blocks. It is estimated that the production may come down by one lakh quintal.
This apart, cotton production in 4,131 hectares in Bhawanipatna block, 1,609 hectares in Kesinga, 1291 hectares in Narla, 977 in Golamunda, 242 in Lanjigarh and 158 hectares in M Rampur block has been affected.
The cotton crop was in flowering stage when the land was water-logged leading to dropping of flower and boll. Besides, cotton grown in bunds, locally known as mal variety, has been affected more due to lack of drainage of water.
This has happened particularly in Narla and Bhawanipatna blocks. On the other hand, other crops have benefited due to the adverse weather condition. Due to the rainfall during second and third weeks of October caused by cyclone, the mixed crop of Arhar grown along with the cotton has helped the farmers. The Arhar plants worked as wind breaker and protected the cotton plants, said cotton expert Narayan Upadhyaya.
He claimed that despite adverse affect of cyclonic rain in some pockets, overall condition of cotton was satisfactory and quality production can be expected if there is no further heavy rain.
However, as rains continue to lash the district, the farmers apprehend further loss to cotton crop.