Kolkata: The West Bengal government has started an exercise to assess crop damage due to recent unseasonal rain and advise farmers to take necessary steps to protect their produce from pest attacks, a minister said.

State agriculture minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay stated that his department is monitoring the situation so that there would be no shortage of foodgrains at a time when the economy is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic and food inflation.

Our officials have been sent to fields after the unseasonal rain occurred since January 11. We want to complete a quick assessment of crop damage in areas that received rainfall,” he said.

The officials have also been asked to interact with farmers to protect their crops from diseases that may spread due to the rain, the state agriculture minister said on Saturday.

The government took initiatives to protect cultivators from farming disruptions. Crop insurance will save them, but if the agriculture production is down, food inflation will hit people during the COVID crisis. Several measures are taken keeping these in mind, an official said.

Crops such as mustard, potato and pulses may get damaged due to adverse weather conditions.

According to preliminary reports, mustard, pulses, and vegetables have been damaged in 14 mouzas of six gram panchayats in Murshidabad, the official said.

Some farmers have apprehended about late blight disease.

“No major crop damage has been reported. Our officers are advising farmers about types of pesticides that can be used under what conditions, Pradip Kr Mazumdar, advisor to the agriculture department, said.

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