Ramesh Susarla

Delayed monsoon and late sowing shatter their hopes

Sharp drop in yield due to inconsistency in rainfall

Input costs have gone up exorbitantly

GUNTUR: Delayed monsoon, late sowing of paddy saplings and untimely transplantation during this year’s khariff, has turned a non-remunerative affair for a majority of farmers in Guntur district with tenant farmers being the worst- affected.

Andhra Pradesh farmers might have benefitted the maximum from the crop loan waiver announced by the UPA government, but it has been cornered by landholders and the real farmer on the ground - who constitute about 70 per cent of farmers, did not benefit much. The All India Kisan Samithi, which will hold its annual conference in Guntur from January 7 to 10, will discuss this aspect and likely to come out with some recommendation for the Union government.

A reality check at Angalakuduru village near Tenali in Guntur district proved how futile was the four-month exercise for the farmers in the region, that is known for its abundance in water resources.

A visit to the village revealed that a majority of the paddy and maize tenant farmers have taken land on lease for Rs.14,000 a year and the input costs have gone up exorbitantly.

With the bankers refusing to provide loans to tenant farmers, a paddy farmer, Bodduluru Venkata Rao, raising the crop in 2.5 acres at Angalakuduru, had invested almost Rs. 30,000 per acre in khariff, but due to delayed nursery raising and sowing, the paddy yield is coming down all around his land.

On an average the yield is between 30 and 35 bags, but inconsistency in the rainfall has led to sharp drop in yield for him and he is expecting to reap about 25 to 30 bags an acre, which would bring him Rs.30,000 per acre at the most as the maximum support price for the paddy is Rs.1,000. Tenant farmers have to pay the lease amount upfront in cash (Rs.14,000) or give 20 bags of paddy after the crop if they are unable to pay the amount, which would a losing proposition for him, so Venkata Rao paid Rs.14,000 towards lease amount.

Other expenses included Rs.1,500 per acre for DAP and super phosphate fertilizers in two spells before and after sowing and ploughing with tractor costs Rs.400, Rs.1,500 for cutting, Rs.60 per bag as labour charges for using fertilizer and another Rs. 60 for making way in the fields for cutting. For carrying cut paddy along with hay and crushing them costs close to Rs.2,450 per acre and the total expenditure comes to Rs.16,000.

The only hope for Venkata Rao is recovery of some investment from the maize in rabi crop to be sown now and with an investment of Rs.15,000 an acre he expects to get an income of Rs.30,000 per acre as good price is being offered for the maize and he shifted from black gram to maize for the past six years due to the good price being offered for maize.