With just five days left for registering for the agricultural insurance, farmers who have taken land on lease are in a quandary as to whether they will be benefited anyway by the insurance for which the State Government is prepared to pay the entire premium. With prospects for samba crop looking bleak, this assumes great significance.

Leasing cultivable land is a common practice. Besides, there is another system called “vaaram” under which the landowner shares the cost of cultivation.

While the farmers who have availed of crop loan from the banks need not have any worry because the insurance premium is deducted even as the loan is granted, it is the non-loanee (who have not borrowed) farmers who have got to register themselves for the insurance by December 15.

Rajachidambaram, general secretary of the Tamilaga Vivsayigal Sangham, estimates that at least 25 per cent of the farmers in the State have taken land on lease while an equal number would be those who function under the “vaaram” system.

Puliyur R. Nagarajan, vice-president of the Agriculturists Wing of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee, laments that the major problem confronting those who have taken lease is that since long this lease has not been registered at all.

It is given in good faith that the tenant would return the land after a period mutually accepted. And it is the lessee who makes a lump-sum payment to the land owner and then cultivates against all odds. In case of crop failure, which looks almost certain this year, it is he who would lose the entire investment.

Here lies the hitch. As there is nothing in writing regarding the lease, the insurance company would make the payment only to the landowner and not the tenant because it is the former who has the land document, argues Mr. Nagarajan.

He says that such instances had taken place leaving the tenant high and dry while the landowner, who invested nothing as far as that particular crop was concerned, had taken undue advantage of the situation.

Insurance sources told The Hindu that “it would be impossible for the insurance company to make the payment to someone who does not have any document to show that he was the one who has raised the crops.

In case of a tenant, first of all we seek a self-declaration. It is imperative that he should get a certificate from the Village Administrative Officer (VAO) that he was the one who has raised the crops on that particular land.”

Mr. Rajachidambaram says that even in case of “non-partitioned land,” co-operative society is prepared to extend loan if the farmer produces a certificate from the VAO.

Hence, without making the farmer who has actually incurred the cost of cultivation lose his investment, the system could be simplified by directing the VAO to give certificates regarding the raising of the crops on a particular land.

Mr. Nagarajan demands that the district administration should help the farmers in this regard by instructing the VAOs or Assistant Agricultural Officers to identify the real tiller of the land.

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