Call made at State convention of the Rythu Coolie Sangham, Andhra Pradesh, in Vijayawada
Only by waging a united struggle against the economic policies of the country farmers can get out of the crisis they were facing, former professor of the Acharya N.G.Ranga Agricultural University, K.R.Chowdary.
Inaugurating the State convention of the Rythu Coolie Sangham, Andhra Pradesh, (affiliated to the All India Khet Mazdoor Kisan Sabha) here on Tuesday Prof. Chowdary said different farmers’ associations were making separate demands for subsidies, remunerative prices for their produce, crop insurance and quality control on inputs, but the primary cause for their plight was the faulty economic policies of the country.
He said despite the promises made by leaders such as former Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy the suicides of farmers continued even till today. Stating that there was a lot of difference in the statistics being published by different agencies on the number of suicides, Prof. Chowdary said he believed that two farmers were committing suicide every hour in the country.
There was a great variation in the figures published by different agencies because the government agencies were not recording tenants as farmers at all.
The percentage of farmers ensnared in the debt trap was also growing. Currently 82 per cent of the farmers were caught in the debt trap. According to a survey up to 50 per cent of the farmers in the country do not want to continue in agriculture, he said.
Giving these figures Prof. Chowdary said the crisis in the agricultural sector was predicted by revolutionary leader Tarimela Nagi Reddy decades ago.
The agricultural system of the farmers which was more environment-friendly was totally destroyed to give control to the multi-national companies and ‘imperialist nations’, he said.
He said this should not be seen as a crisis of the farmers alone, because it had an affect on rural economy. Rural poverty was on the rise from 35 per cent a few years ago to 50 per cent today.
A report submitted by Arjun Sengupta put rural poverty in the country at 70 per cent.
Prof. Chowdary said corporate agriculture that was suggested a while ago and contract agriculture that was coming into vogue more recently would end up counter productive resulting in farmers losing rights over their lands and becoming landless peasants.
Rythu Coolie Sangham State secretary K Kotaiah welcomed the gathering and president Simhadri Jhansi presided. Sambalpur University economics professor Gholak Biharinath, AIKMKS central secretariat members Vindhai Vemdan, Srikanth Mohanti, State vice-president Gurram Vijaya Kumar, joint secretary J Kishore Babu, and State leader M. Bhargavasri were on the dais.