Kerala

Moratorium not a solution, only a temporary consolation

Farmers seek firm steps to revive sector

With the agriculture sector in crisis, farmers feel the moratorium on repayment of loans may not be of much help to them. They termed it more of a temporary consolation.

They say the moratorium will not help in saving the sector as they have to repay the loans.

With banks cautious in disbursing farm loans, many farmers have taken loans under other provisions and used it for agricultural purposes. With the crisis in the farm sector, many have defaulted on the loans, says M.T. Thomas, a pepper farmer.

He says low prices for their produce have only aggravated the situation. “Concrete measures are needed to rejuvenate the sector,” he said, demanding a waiver of farm loans.

General convener of the High Range Samrakshana Samiti Fr Sebastian Kochupurackal said moratorium was not a solution as farmers would have to repay the amount with interest. “It has to be seen along with the low prices of cash crops as farmers will land more in debt once the moratorium period ends,” he said.

He said it was a political and social responsibility to support the sector. No concrete steps had been taken to help the farmers hit by the deluge.

Seeks special package

“The farm sector had remained unorganised and the government has not given the importance it deserves,” Fr. Kochupurackal said. He said the Central and the State governments should come out with a special package to revive the sector.

“Though some studies in the aftermath of the floods have pointed to loss of soil elements in addition to large-scale soil erosion, they have not been clear on its impact on farm production. Soil conditions are vital like climatic conditions for cardamom and pepper cultivation. There should be efforts to compensate the loss of elements in soil, and this has not been taken seriously,” Murugan, a farm expert, said.

There should be a scientific approach to farming in the wake of climate change. Farmers should be given training in soil-friendly farming, he added.

Dean Kuriakose, MP, said the Centre would be pressured to allot special package for the farm sector. He said the sector should be rejuvenated and the farming community given priority in policy-making.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 1:24:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/only-a-temporary-consolation/article28230536.ece

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