Hailstorm destroys crops worth millions in Chitwan

CHITWAN: Strong winds accompanied by hailstones dealt a heavy blow to farmers of Chitwan as it damaged large swathes of banana, maize and other vegetables and fruits worth millions of rupees.

The severe weather phenomenon which struck the region on Sunday evening has laid down most of the the banana plants completely ravaging the plantations in various regions in the district.

Kalika Municipality which was hit hardest witnessed total destruction of maize and banana farms, local Journalist Radhe Shyam Khatiwada said.

Likewise, it has been learnt that 90 per cent of the banana trees have fallen to grounds and those still upright wont bear any fruit.

According to Former Chair of Banana Producer’s Association, Yagya Subedi, strong winds and hailstorms have destroyed banana worth more than Rs 200 million in the municipality.

Similarly, Ratna Nagar and Rapti Municipality also suffered heavy losses as the weather phenomenon struck the region.

Out of the banana plants spread over 2650 Bighhas in the district, half have been destroyed in the hailstorm, Banana Producer’s Association Chair Bishnu Hari Panta said.

Citing that the total losses stood in millions, Chief of District Agriculture Development Office, Sudhir Shrestha said that the office was assessing the losses. Preliminary details will be released on Tuesday, Shrestha informed.

Banana farmers have incurred maximum loss, Shrestha added.

Many of the farmers are yet to insure their crops against such calamities.

To minimize the losses from natural calamities it is imperative to ensure effective implementation of the insurance programme, authorities said.

During the past year, the district with 630 active banana farmers had witnessed sales of banana worth Rs 1.20 billion.