MARGAO: Deputy Chief Minister and Agriculture Minister Chandrakant Kavlekar visited farmers and inspected watermelon farming at Verna on Friday. He has also promised to provide compensation to all affected farmers who have suffered loss due to rare type of disease affecting watermelons at Verna and other places. It has been also revealed that the numbers of affected farmers are not just 70 but it almost touched 500. Farmers from Nagao, Nuvem and Majorda have also suffered losses due to this rare type of disease. GT had first unleashed the news on January 28. Kavlekar along with Nuvem MLA Wilfred D'sa, agriculture zonal officer Anil Noronha and other officials visited in fields of affected farmers and took stock of the situations. Officers from agriculture department seen fully engaged in preparing the details report since Monday. "I had instructed zonal divisional officer to inspect fields and submit report. Farmers deserve compensation. There is a total damage to watermelon production, said Kavlekar." He further said that there are nearly 200 farmers who are engaged in watermelon farming in Verna itself. Besides, there are several other farmers at Nagao and Majorda who have also suffered loss due to this disease. "There is no chance of recovery. It is a 100 percent loss. I have asked the Director of Agriculture to move the file pertaining to the compensation. I have also asked to submit the detail report of loss so that we can decide on how much compensation should be given to them. I want to give them compensation under the scheme of 'Xetkar Adhar Nidhi'," he added. Kavlekar said, "the cause will find out and the department will also take precautions so that this is not repeated again. We have to take precautions. But our first priority is to give them compensation", he stated. Reacting to the question raised by the reporter he said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had already announced that the income of the farmers will be doubled by 2022. "On the background of the same, we have already taken several initiatives to support the farmers. There are some issues because of which farmers cannot do the second cultivation. But, the farmers from Verna and surroundings areas are engaged in farming throughout the year and they need to be promoted and supported. My efforts are also to support the farmers who do full time farming in Goa. And hence, we have also trying our best to start an organic agriculture university in Goa. The watermelon farmers can increase their production of watermelons and get the rate three times more if they engaged in organic farming," he stated. He also informed that Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant in his budget will announce the Organic Agriculture University.