Representatives of eight farm organisations of Karnataka and Kerala form a federation; say they are severely hit by fruit-rot disease

A meeting of representatives of eight farm organisations of Karnataka and Kerala here on Wednesday floated a federation and sought waiver of farm loans of arecanut growers as they said fruit-rot disease has severely hit plantations.

The federation demanded that the government should constitute an arecanut board and implement the report of Gorak Singh Committee (which had recommended the government to waive farm loans of arecanut growers affected by various diseases).

The federation was formed to protect the interests of arecanut and coconut growers as the representatives said the future of farmers was bleak due to various diseases hitting both plantations.

It was named as Federation of Arecanut and Coconut Farmers’ Organisations of Karnataka and Kerala.

It was attended by representatives of Karnataka Rajya Raita Sangha (KRRS), Karnataka Prantha Raita Sangha, All India Areca Growers’ Association, Kisan Sene, Kisan Congress, Kasaragod (Kerala) Areca Growers’ Samrakshana Samithi, and Jeevan, an organisation of Kerala.

Strong protest

A prominent leader of KRRS from Hassan, Kanagal Murthy, wanted farmers to assert their rights. He said that forming a body, submitting memoranda to ministers and bureaucrats to come to their help would not serve any purpose. He suggested that arecanut and coconut growers should lock the offices of either agriculture department of horticulture department here or in other districts to register the protest of farmers. It could open up the eyes of politicians and bureaucrats.

Mr. Murthy said that arecanut growers, particularly, in the coastal belt were mild in nature. As a result they have not been able to prove their strength and get compensation from the government for crop loss due to diseases for more than four decades now. Arecanut growers should become more aggressive, he said.

The other representatives in the meeting were hesitant to resort to such a move and said that a decision to this effect could be taken later.

According to Ravikiran Punacha, chief convener of the federation, arecanut growers from Sullia taluk would organise a “hakkottaya chaluvali” (struggle for farmers’ rights) in Sullia on August 27. A decision on locking up the offices of the department would be taken there.

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