Andhra Pradesh

Double whammy for farmers in black soil

Farmers spray pesticides on the wilted chilli crop in Pottipadu village of Anantapur district in a bid to salvage some crop.   | Photo Credit: PRASAD RVS

It was a double whammy for farmers in the black soils of Uravakonda, Bommanahal and Vajrakarur mandals of Anantapur district, who predominantly grow chilli, cotton, and Bengal Gram, with village after village showing a disappointing picture with wilted crops spread over hundreds of acres or rotten remnants being removed by the growers. Many of the agriculture fields were still under a sheet of rainwater 12 days after the first rains hit the district.

During a visit along with the members of the ‘Rythu Coolie Rakshana Padayatra’ from Vajrakarur to Uravakonda on the crop damage assessment and farmer awareness programme, a majority of the farmers were at their wits’ end as to what to do with the losses they suffered twice in the same monsoon season — once due to a long dry spell in the early days and due to extremely heavy rain towards the end of the season.

Srinivasulu, who has 10 acres of land, had sown Bengal Gram as he expected good price this season and had taken three acres on tenancy to sow chilli. He lost the crops in entire 13 acres and has registered his loss with the Village Secretariat, but none visited his farm to assess the damages or assure any compensation at least to the extent of input. He had invested ₹1.5 lakh on growing chilli, while he needs to pay another ₹1.2 lakh as rental for the three acres for the current season. “My sources have dried up for loans and unless the government helps with some amount, I will not be able to sow anything for the next season, as I need to clear loans taken at 24% interest from the open market,” he explains.

District Rythu Coolie Sangham vice-president V. Rambhupal and All India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU) district president S. Nagendra Kumar and M. Balarangaiah along with Rythu Coolie Sangham general secretary R. Chandrasekhar, who has been walking for the past 11 days, were received enthusiastically in Pottipadu village in Vajrakarur Mandal, where more than 200 chilli and Bengal Gram farmers gathered to express their woes.

Devaraju from Pottipadu lost crop in three acres when he had high hopes from his Kollega (Dhabi) variety of chilli he was growing for dye extraction needs. Now he is spraying DAP and Urea mixture on the wilted crop and trying to protect a small portion of the agriculture field, which is still unaffected. Last season, the wilt fungal disease in chilli had reduced the yield, but he had got returns enough to save money for sowing this season, but now the entire crop is lost at the beginning of plucking season, he explains.

A massive dharna is proposed at District Collector’s office on December 18 as a culmination of the padayatra after touching all the mandals in the district.


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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 9:03:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/double-whammy-for-farmers-in-black-soil/article37813179.ece

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