Pithoragarh, Over 1,500 rajma and potato growers of the Munsiyari sub-division of the district have suffered heavy losses with 30 per cent of their crops already got damaged due to the heavy rainfall from October 17-19.
The roads damaged in the rains have only compounded their problems leading to extra transportation costs to take their produce to local markets.
“The 5-km road from our village to the Mandir market has got badly damaged, we will have to carry rajma on horseback that will cost us Rs 450 per quintal,” Kammu Rawat, a rajma and potato grower from Bona village said.
According to the farmer, the motor road from their village to the market is fully damaged up to Thapki.
Over 450 families of three rajma and potato producing villages of Bona, Tomik and Golph have suffered damages to the cash crops, he said.
“On average, each of these families earns Rs 10,000 per annum from these crops but due to damaged crop and higher transportation costs from respective villages, the profits will go down to 50 per cent this year,” Rawat said.
According to agriculture department sources, over 1,500 quintals of potato and 500 quintals of rajma are grown by Munsiyari farmers alone in the district.
According to the villagers, these days they are busy cutting the grass but after 10 days, they will start digging out potatoes.
Despite a good crop of potato this year, the organic potato of Munsiyari will cost more due to the increased transportation costs, said Puran Singh Rawat, another villager of Tomik.
The villagers of Golph are dependent on a trolley for transportation of their cash crops of potato and rajma after the permanent bridge constructed on the Golph rivulet was swept away in the 2013 rains.
A temporary bridge constructed at the same place was also swept away by the river four months ago this year.
“Over 500 families of the village grow rajma and potato for their livelihood. It has become difficult to transport these produce to market as the trolly, the only means of transportation from the village to Madkot market, has limited capacity,” said Lakshman Singh, Gram pradhan of the Golph village.
Golph resident Bhuppi Bathiyal said that in the absence of proper roads, it takes at least four hours to reach Madkot from the village.
“If you are carrying bags stuffed with crops, it may even take an entire day to cross the rivulet for one family alone,” Bathiyal said. PTI