Kerala Budget 2024 | Make provision for paddy procurement, say farmers

The farmers have also reiterated their demand for setting up solar fencings along the borders of forests and cultivated land to prevent attacks by wild animals.

February 04, 2024 08:36 pm | Updated February 05, 2024 11:22 am IST - KOCHI

Image used for representative purpose only

Image used for representative purpose only | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Kerala Budget must set aside funds for seasonal procurement of paddy on a regular basis to help farmers, who are now driven to penury, rising debt and suffering the worst consequences of deficit rainfall triggered by climate change.

K. Shivanandan, a paddy farmer in Palakkad said that the farmers have submitted a memorandum to the finance minister ahead of the Budget demanding that a permanent feature of the Budget should be funds to support farmers through paddy procurement. He said there are dozens of farmers, who are yet to get money for the paddy procured from them during the last season.

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While the money has not been coming through government channels, farmers were forced to take loans from banks against their paddy land, said Mr. Shivanandan. The matter is now under court consideration, he added.

Mr. Shivanandan said that another issue that has been brought to the government’s notice is the attacks on cultivated land by wild animals. Elephant attacks on coconut plantations have been frequent and destructive. The farmers were paid a compensation of ₹350 per tree affected by the attacks whereas the seedlings cost around ₹600 each. The compensation amount has to be raised substantially to help farmers remain in business, he added.

The farmers have also reiterated their demand for setting up solar fencings along the borders of forests and cultivated land to prevent attacks by wild animals. Wild animal-farmer confrontations are frequent in most of the areas near to the forest.

The drought-like conditions at many places in Palakkad has also prompted farmers to vociferously demand renewal of the contract on Parambikulam-Aliyar irrigation programme. The agreement has lapsed and Kerala government must take the lead in renewing the agreement so that farmers in Kerala receive their due share of water from the Parambikulam embankment dam, Mr. Shivanandan said.

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