Unseasonal rain has wreaked havoc on the crops in Palghar, as they have in other parts of Maharashtra. Growers spread around Vasai taluka produce banana and its related products, which are then exported and also sold across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). Almost 30% of the banana crop has suffered since August, said local farmers.
Grower Sylvester Lopez said the unseasonal rain resulted in not just lost fruit, but damage to trees. “I expect a 50% loss in this year’s collection.”
The elaichi bananas, smaller than regular bananas, grow in various belts in Vasai. The bananas are exported and also sold locally across Mumbai. “The banana farm has been a family occupation for generations now. Not once in my memory have we faced so much loss,” said Lopez. “For us these trees are like family. It’s sad to see them destroyed by nature this way,” he said.
Banana farmers in Vasai have been cultivating the fruit for generations but the rain seems to have been merciless this year, they said.
“It is not just that it rained a lot. It rained continuously, without any sun. Plants have decayed because of too much water and no sunlight,” said Reuben Rodriguez (38), another cultivator, adding, “the rain last year was bad, but this year it was worse. It is a clear sign of climate change. We can see the changes now.”