Heavy rains leave urad dal farmers from Rampur, Uttar Pradesh in deep waters

Urad dal farmers in Rampur district, Uttar Pradesh in a welter of woes as unexpected rains and flooding of rivers damage their ready-to-harvest crops

Ramji Mishra
| Updated: October 25th, 2021

Rampur, Uttar Pradesh

Ram Babu, a 60-year-old farmer from Deenpur, Rampur district is on his way to meet his insurance people. “I am on my way to see if I can make good some of my losses,” Ram Babu, told Gaon Connection. Ram Babu’s ready-to-harvest urad crop was damaged in the sudden and unexpected rains in the district. He has traditionally cultivated urad dal in the months of July and August on his 10 bighas (about two hectares) of land. “It is a quick crop and ready to harvest in three months. But, because of the unseasonal rains, the urad flowers have dropped off. And my fields are waterlogged,” he lamented. The farmer said he had lost 50 per cent of his produce.

Also Read: Incessant heavy rains damage standing and harvested crops in Uttar Pradesh bringing the farmers to their knees

“I have to take fresh loans once again for my next crop. I already have a loan to repay to the bank,” Ram Babu worried. Though he said his crop was insured with a bank, he pointed out that he was not a lettered person and therefore did not know any more details about it. “Bank officials never explain properly to us and all I know is that at the end of the day, money is deducted for the insurance payments,” he added.   

A farmer showing the damaged pulses.

Urad cultivation may not be as extensive as the other crops, but Rampur does have a significant number of farmers who grow it along with their main crops, while a few others like Ram Babu grow it exclusively. These farmers especially, have suffered great losses as their urad crop has been damaged due to unseasonal rains and flood waters from rivers such as the Kosi and the Ramganga. Farmers in Rajarampur, Deenpur, Mankara and Haryal are particularly affected.  

“The urad flowers broke off in the rains. There is every chance of fungus too, and we won’t be able to sell the dal,” Ankit Sharma, a farmer, also from Deenpur village told Gaon Connection. According to him there were intermittent but heavy rains on October 17, 18 and 19. 

Also Read: Ishrat Jahan epitomises the pain of farmers repeatedly hit by extreme weather events

Like Ram Babu, 25-year-old Ankit was unsure of the process of insurance and how it worked. “I took a loan using my kisan credit card, and along with the interest, the insurance money is also deducted,” he said. “I could never understand the calculations behind it,” Ankit shrugged.  

Urad cultivation may not be as extensive as the other crops, but Rampur does have a significant number of farmers who grow it along with their main crops.

In the neighbouring village of Hariyal, where several farmers cultivate urad dal, the woes are similar. Mohammad Sajikh picked his way around his soggy 22-bigha field of urad trying to see if he could salvage any dal. “My harvested crop was still in the open field when it poured. Everything has rotted,” he told Gaon Connection

Most urad farmers increase or decrease the urad cultivation depending on the rate it is going for that season, Vishal Agarwal from Mankara village, informed Gaon Connection. Agarwal had 28 bighas of land with urad growing on it.   

The urad dal usually sells at a good rate. More than that, many farmers like to grow it along with their primary crops, because the urad adds nutrition to the soil, 53-year-old Agarwal explained.  “Farmers sow urad along with paddy and it is harvested before the sowing of wheat,” Agarwal said. 

Farmers in Rajarampur, Deenpur, Mankara and Haryal are particularly affected.

According to him one acre of urad yields about Rs 16,000 worth of produce which includes a profit of Rs 6000 an acre. “But those whose urad crop was ready to harvest, and those who had already cut the crop and left it on the field, are in serious trouble,” said Agarwal who also lost fifty per cent of his urad crop to the rain. 

Agarwal renewed his crop insurance every year, but not this time.  “I have never ever received any insurance money when my crops suffered. So, I did not insure my crops this time,” he said. 

Farmers in Rampur have been cultivating urad not just because it is a quick-growing crop, but also because it adds nutrition to the soil. However, this year the rains have spelt doom for the urad farmers.

Also Read: Keedi Ram owned 12 bigha of land. But floods in the Ghaghra river have made him landless.

Approximately 3,500 hectares of land are under urad cultivation in Rampur, Narendra Pal, agricultural officer of the district, told Gaon Connection. The affected areas are mostly in Bilaspur, Swar, Tanda, Milak, Shahabad and Sadar, he said.  Acknowledging the damage to the urad crops, Pal assured the affected farmers of help. “So far it has been estimated that up to fifteen per cent of the urad crops have been damaged. The farmers with crop insurance, will be compensated by the insurance company, and those without will be helped after a survey of their lands is carried out by the respective tehsils,” he said.