The State government will implement from next year a pilot project to decentralise distribution of agricultural inputs like fertilisers, pesticides and seeds so as to make them available in every village, says Minister for Agriculture N. Raghuveera Reddy.

The Minister was addressing the regional level conference of officials of the department from East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur and Prakasam districts, and also speaking to newspersons later.

He said that despite adverse seasonal conditions like drought and floods, the State would register a record agriculture production of 155 lakh metric tonnes of food grains in the ongoing kharif.

Mr. Reddy said though 27,000 outlets in the State were selling fertilisers, pesticides and seeds, these were located only in about 2,000 to 2,500 villages.

Small and marginal farmers in a majority of the 21,000 panchayats in the State had no immediate access to agricultural inputs.

The plan to decentralise distribution of these inputs would ensure that the requirements of a village were fully met.

A comparison

On agricultural production, Mr. Reddy said while indirectly referring to the TDP rule that agricultural production in 2000-01, when seasonal conditions were “the best in several hundreds of years,” was just 162 lakh metric tonnes. “But now, the seasonal conditions are the worst in the century, as we have witnessed drought in half of the State and massive floods in some regions. Still, we will be able to register a record output,” he said, attributing the credit to the “farmer-friendly” policies launched by former Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy. Mr. Reddy made light of price rise, saying it was a global phenomenon and the price of rice was bound to go up because of increase in the minimum support price of paddy. He appealed to farmers not to sell even a kg of the produce for a price less than MSP. Mr. Reddy said that the regional conferences were aimed at preparing the officials for the ensuing ‘Rythu Chaitanya Yatralu' and ‘Rythu Sadassulu'.

MP Lagadapati Rajagopal, Commissioner of Agriculture Sunil Sharma, Krishna district Collector Peeyush Kumar, Joint Collector Gaurav Uppal, MLA Malladi Vishnu, MLC Ilapuram Venkaiah, Mayor M.V. Ratna Bindu, Krishna Zilla Parishad Chairman K. Nageswara Rao, Vice-Chairperson T. Padmavathi and others participated.

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