Scientists asked to do their bit for farmers
Agriculture Minister Kanna Lakshminarayana has said stringent action will be taken against traders selling spurious seed and pesticides, which have become a bane of farmers.
Efforts are being made to provide institutional finance to eligible farmers. A sum of Rs.50,000 crore is targeted to be extended to the primary sector in 2012-13.
The Union Budget presented on Friday augurs well for agriculture as it has got 17 per cent more allocation than that of the previous year.
While Andhra Pradesh stands first in production of many food and commercial crops, the farmers are bogged down by high costs of agricultural operations.
“Whenever officials from Hyderabad go to Delhi seeking fixation of Minimum Support Price for various crops, they are asked why the costs are high. If this situation were to change, policy-makers and scientists should stress on making agriculture affordable for farmers,” Mr. Lakshminarayana observed while addressing a conference of agriculture officers of Guntur, Prakasam, and Nellore districts organised by Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University at the Regional Agricultural Research Station (RARS) here on Saturday.
Mr. Lakshminarayana said 65 per cent of the population was dependent on agriculture for a living, hence the need to take steps for protecting the interests of farmers and other stakeholders.
Officials should be prepared for the kharif season. As a prelude to it, village-level action plans should be prepared from the farmers' perspective, he said.
Role of officials
“The Agriculture Department has a large technical manpower, but there is a perception that it has failed in making agriculture a profitable vocation. While there are certain market forces responsible for the sordid state of affairs, the role of agriculture officers cannot be underplayed. They have to do their best to repose the farmers' faith,” the Minister said.
Principal Secretary (Agriculture & Cooperation) V. Nagi Reddy said farmers should take up cultivation of crops other than water-intensive ones such as paddy wherever there were favourable conditions.
The Agriculture and Marketing Department officers and staff should be on their toes to curb sale of spurious farm inputs.
Unfortunately, some big companies manipulated the demand-supply chain to promote their own businesses. Their actions were inflicting heavy losses on farmers, he said. District Collector V.N. Vishnu, Commissioner of Agriculture V. Usha Rani, Joint Director of Agriculture V. Sridhar, and RARS Associate Director K. Sankar Reddy participated.