Wheat harvest affected by inclement weather in north India

Inclement weather in north India, especially Punjab, has destroyed the standing wheat crop in several farms.

Heavy rains and hailstorm lashed large parts of Punjab on Sunday, flattening the wheat crop in many fields. Though wheat procurement operations began earlier this month, bad weather has resulted in delays in harvesting.

According to estimates, less than four per cent of the state's wheat crop has been harvested so far this month. Mandis (agricultural markets) in the state had reported a mere 200,000 metric tonnes of wheat, brought in by farmers, by the weekend, as against four million tonnes around the same time last year.

The worst-affected regions of Punjab include Amritsar, Bathinda, Moga and Jalandhar.

Farmers fear that the heavy rains, combined with hailstorm, would have destroyed much of the standing crop. In the case of heavy rains, farmers resort to manual harvesting, but when there is hailstorm, the quality of the grains also suffers.

Last week, the central government okayed a proposal for a bonus of Rs50 per quintal, over and above the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs.1,120 a quintal for wheat.