Seethareddy determined to save his standing chilli crop

At a time when farmers are ending their lives out of despair, a strong-willed tenant farmer in Prakasam district, with support from his family members, is showing the way to others, fighting against all odds to overcome the most difficult situation ever faced with repeated rain in eight months ruining his crops.

Since the Laila cyclonic storm, the district had been battered by over five weather systems, damaging first blackgram and later ladies finger crops of the 48-year-old farmer, Tanuboothi Seethareddy of Krishnamrajuvaripalem village in Korispadu mandal.

Not losing hope, he grew chillies in three acres of leased land paying Rs. 12,000 per acre and has spent so far Rs. 80,000. The excessive rain under the influence of cyclonic storm Jal and later due to depression in December had affected the plants' growth and flowering. “But for the unseasonal rains, I should have got 10 to 15 quintals by now,” he says. He is not alone in his struggle for survival. His wife Venkaiamma (38) joins him in farm work, so also his 15-year-old daughter Ashwini, studying in ninth standard.

All of them, joined by the pair of Hallikar bulls, known for adaptability to extreme climatic conditions, are now leaving no stone unturned to save the standing crop. “I hope to get about 15 quintals per acre if pest attack due to the chill weather subsides,” he adds.

“With ever growing labour costs, my daughter also joins us during holidays and also before and after school hours in the farm,” the proud father says taking time off work to talk to The Hindu.

“We need to sustain ourselves and meet the educational expenses of my son Omanchivaradha Reddy studying in a corporate college in Ongole,” adds the farmer.

The following correction was made in this report on December 31, 2010 - The pair of bulls joining the farmer in his endeavour to save the standing crop are not Ongole bulls, but of the Hallikar breed.