Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: TDP president, N. Chandrababu Naidu on Wednesday said he would take up the issue of farmers in distress with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar.

Addressing a press conference after a two-day visit to meet farmers in Prakasam and Guntur district, Mr. Naidu said farmers in the State were in deep crisis with mounting debts and farm produce not fetching them remunerative price, thanks to the neglect of the agriculture sector by the government.

He wanted the government to hold an all-party meeting and come to the rescue of the farmers through Rs. 1000 crore market intervention fund. He said he had not seen such a crisis during his three-decade long political career. Hit by floods, drought and now gales and hailstorm, farmers were in dire straits.

Farmers who raised a popular type of rice cost them Rs.1,030 a quintal but they were unable to sell it even at Rs. 600 a quintal. Far from helping them, the FCI was not lifting stocks. With no godown space, farmers were keeping their stocks in open. It was the same case with tobacco and other crops. Farmers were so fed up that another round of suicides looked imminent.