Minister addresses agriculture officials of five Rayalaseema districts

Minister for Agriculture Kanna Lakshminarayana has asserted that the State Government will present a special budget for agriculture next year, taking corrective measures from the hiccups faced recently.

“Though we focused on the technicalities and the departments to be involved in preparing a detailed budget, we did not concentrate on the Assembly procedures, which let us down, forcing us to dub it as ‘agricultural plan’. We will now be careful in presenting a full-fledged budget next year”, he said while addressing agricultural officials of Chittoor, Nellore, Kadapa, Anantapur and Kurnool at the Regional Pre-Season Workshop here on Thursday.

Emphasising on soil health, the first step for better yield, he sought revamp of the sample collection system. Similarly, the officers were clearly told not to spare those selling spurious/high price seed, fertilizers, etc., and the inactive progressive farmers. On the reported seed shortage, he dubbed it a bogey.

“The farmers, out of ignorance, ran after a single brand. We have proved that all brands are equally effective”.

On credit support to tenant farmers, he wanted the SHG model showcased to woo farmers and allay the bankers’ concern, whereby the beneficiaries could enjoy interest-free loan, if they paid back the Rs. 1 lakh loan in a year.

The input subsidy of Rs. 1,816 crore released could not be disbursed, as a whopping five lakh farmers were found to be still not having bank accounts.

Mr. Lakshminarayana felt that though the State was doing a lot for the farmers, a general sense of dissatisfaction was still persistent due to reasons unknown and asked the officials to counsel the farmers on fertilizer application, seed development, credit, input subsidy and insurance during the forthcoming ‘Rythu Chaitanya Yatras’, for which he released the publicity material.

Commissioner for Agriculture K. Madhusudhan Rao wanted simultaneous tackling of soil nutrient deficiency, fodder grass and farm pond development to benefit the farmers.

Officials and scientists who were present spoke on farm mechanisation, seed village, Insecticide Act, crop insurance, ‘Polambadi’, soil testing and credit support at the day-long event.