Andhra Pradesh Rythu Sangam (APRS) working president K. Ramakrishna said that the State has been pounded by 20 cyclones during the last decade and ‘Leher’ would be 21st severe cyclone to hit the State.

The cyclones and floods caused severe loss to the farmers but the successive governments have paid only 7 per cent compensation to ryots, he said. The CPI State Secretariat Member, who was here to participate in a round table conference on “Need to protect agriculture sector – Role of political parties and intellectuals’, held on Monday, said though the farmers pleaded for a compensation of Rs.45,000 crore, only Rs.7 crore has been paid.

Due to poor assistance from the government, many farmers were leaving agriculture. According to the records, 75 per cent of the population depended on farming during 1975, but only 52 per cent were dependent on it now, he said.

As regards debts, farmers suffered huge losses due to the calamities. In Andhra Pradesh, 82 per cent farmers were debt-ridden, while it was 79 percent in Tamil Nadu and 68 per cent in Punjab, he said. He added that Government should encourage dairy, poultry, sheep and goat rearing, raising internal and horticulture crops to help the farmers to come out of losses.