The tardy disbursal of crop loans in old undivided Adilabad district has farmers spending more time at the doorsteps of banks seeking a loan than in the fields tending their crops. This lack of attention, especially in the case of poor farmers in the hilly regions, has ensured an unusual growth of weeds in cotton and other fields which threatens to damage the crops.
The delay caused in corrections and other tasks related with issue of new pattadar passbooks has impacted crop loan disbursal. Only about 30 % of the target of ₹ 1,400 crore has been reached in Adilabad district so far, according to officials.
About 80 % of the 3,43,500 farmers in erstwhile Adilabad are small and marginal farmers and can ill afford any extra spending on weeding. Even the farmers who got the ₹ 4,000 per acre investment support from the government are finding it difficult to spend money on weeding which can be as high as ₹ 800 to ₹1,000 per acre.
“The government should do something about the new weeds that are seen in our fields,” demanded farmer Tekam Moti Ram, a Kolam farmer from Toykan Movvad in Kerameri mandal of Kumram Bheem Asifabad district. Indeed the fields in the hilly areas of the mandal have been flooded with the invasive weed, Hyptis suavolens .
“Yes, a scientific study is needed to look into the problem as such invasive weeds could overwhelm all kinds of crops in the region,” concurred former Adilabad Agriculture Officer S. Narsingu after his visit to the tribal mandals. “But first, the government can offset the financial burden on farmers by tying up weeding operations with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme,” he suggested.
The government can share the expenditure on weeding, which occurs during July and August, by tying up the activity with the MGNREGS. “While the farmer can contribute a part himself or pay the labourers, the differential wages can come from the MGNREGS,” Mr. Narsingu added.
The tribal area farmers also face the problem of striga parasite weed which attacks the jowar fields and destroys almost 50 % of the crop. As jowar is the major food crop for poor farmers, the weeding problem should also be addressed urgently, opined farmer Pusam Anand Rao of Mallapur in Adilabad district.