Their toil in the last three months to raise GM crops goes down the drain

The progressive farmers in this remote village on the foothills of Nallamalla forests in Giddalur mandal have switched over to growing genetically-modified crops to multiply yield and installing the drip irrigation system to judiciously use the precious water.

They were all set to reap the benefits of their three-month toil raising, among other crops, BT cotton, hybrid chillies, superior maize entering into agreement with seeds suppliers for higher yields.

The Wednesday's torrential rains came as a bolt from the blue to the growers as the village tank Gudureddykunta as also Korlakata in the upper reaches breached simultaneously flooding not only their crops grown over 2,000 acres, but also their habitations.

''The drip irrigation system installed to save every drop of water has also suffered extensive damage.” said 25-year-old farmer Bathina Tirpathaiah, whose cotton crop raised in four acres spending Rs. 1 lakh so far, had withered.

“It took three days to drain the rain water and visit our fields only to see the crops flattened by the unprecedented rains. I have never seen in my life time such a rainfall in a very short-span of time,” 70-year-old farmer G.Balanagaiah said showing his withered chilli crop cultivated in two acres spending over Rs. 1.50 lakh.

Streams in spate

“All the streams were in spate in the wake of widespread rains for three days,” another 60-year-old cotton grower Peram Venkat Reddy told The Hindu while desperately trying to drain out water from his field.

Sarpanch Lakshmi Reddy said farmers in his village had suffered severe damage to their crops. They could not cope with the situation, unless the government announced a liberal compensation. ''It is not correct to look only at the cost of cultivation. We have lost our crops a month before harvest. So the government should take into account the loss of yield also'', reasoned Adarsha rythu in the village T.Srinivasa Rao.

APRS district secretary D.Gopinath, who made an extensive visit of the affected crops in the affected-mandals in Giddalur, Yerragondapalem and Markapur Assembly segments, said the government should announce a compensation of at least Rs. 10,000 per acre to cotton growers and Rs. 20,000 per acre to chilli farmers. The officials should include the names of tenant farmers for payment of compensation instead of landlords, he added.

CPI(M) led APRS Giddalur convenor G.Nageswara Reddy pressed for rescheduling of crop loan and fresh interest-free crop loan to raise alternative crops taking advantage of the rains to make good the losses. The government should come to the rescue of growers by providing subsidised inputs including seeds and fertilizers, he added.