Andhra Pradesh

Asani-hit paddy farmers mull crop holiday during Edagaru cropping season

A paddy grower pouring out his woes to a TDP delegation, at a farm near Amalapuram in Konaseema district.

A paddy grower pouring out his woes to a TDP delegation, at a farm near Amalapuram in Konaseema district.

Fifty-year-old Dasari Ramanaiah, who grew paddy in five acres of leased land at Kovur village, was getting ready to complete the harvest of the rabi crop and get a decent return. But his hopes were dashed as the untimely rain triggered by cyclonic storm Asani had snatched away his produce.

So is the case with hundreds of farmers in the mandal who have been struggling to get even the minimum support price promised by the State government, leave alone remunerative price for their produce as per the formula evolved by noted agriculture scientist M.S. Swaminathan.

Relaxing the norms, the State government should ensure purchase of all the wet paddy left with the farmers, says M. Vengaiah, a farmer and Andhra Pradesh Rythu Sangham district president, of Marripadu village.

Farmers could not complete the harvest in time in several mandals in the Penna delta, including Sangam, Buchireddypalem, Kovur, Kodavaluru, Vidavalur, Dagadarthi and Allur this time for various reasons. The heavy rains induced by the cyclonic storm had rendered harvested paddy wet.

“Farmers are forced to either quit the profession or end their lives, caught in a debt trap as cultivation of crops has become unremunerative,” he explains in a conversation with The Hindu.

Farmers in the district have taken up paddy cultivation in over 6.50 lakh acres during rabi and got an yield of over 25 lakh putties (850 kg makes one putti). None of them received the MSP promised by the government as the millers ruled the roost.

“We are forced to sell paddy between ₹11,000 to ₹13,000 per putti against the MSP of ₹16,660,” they complain.

With major reservoirs in the Penna delta, including Somasila and Kandaleru, having comfortable level of storage, the State government has announced irrigation water for 2.60 lakh acres of land. But the farmers are unenthusiastic in raising summer paddy crop having burnt their fingers during the rabi season.

“Now, we are mulling going for a crop holiday during the Edagaru cropping season,” say a group of farmers while drying the wet paddy with rains abating.

Their counterparts in Telangana got a better price for paddy with the government intervening unlike in Nellore.

“Why take the trouble of growing paddy and counting losses yet again,” says APRS-led Tenant Farmers’ Association district secretary T. Gopal.

Tenant farmers are the worst-hit in the wake of natural calamity as they are without the promised Crop Cultivator Rights Card (CCRC) needed for getting compensation, he adds.

Farmers who sold at the Rythu Bharosa Kendras were made to wait for three to four months for getting paid for the paddy procured. Farmers suffered anxious moments as the millers made them wait with their produce on trucks for three to four days citing various reasons, including high moisture content, paying waiting charges of ₹2,000 per day. To avoid such bad experience, many of the farmers sold paddy at a lower price in their village itself.

“Farmers in the district have incurred a loss of up to ₹1,000 crore due to non-realisation of MSP during rabi,” Telugu Desam Party Polit Bureau member Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy, who had undertaken a whirlwind visit of paddy-growing areas, said.

The former Agriculture Minister presses for payment of input subsidy to the Asani-hit farmers by at least 33% over and above the NDRF norms as in vogue during the previous TDP regime after speeding up the enumeration of crop loss suffered by the farmers.

Crops in over 3,025 hectares, including paddy in 1,556 hectares and cotton in 1,210 hectares, was damaged due to Asani in the district, according to a preliminary report compiled by the district administration.


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Printable version | Jun 24, 2022 7:11:35 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/asani-hit-paddy-farmers-mull-crop-holiday-during-edagaru-cropping-season/article65417107.ece