Farm, allied sectors lead metamorphosis of Telangana’s landscape

State stands highest paddy grower for last two Rabi seasons in the country

Updated - June 02, 2023 01:31 pm IST

Published - June 02, 2023 08:49 am IST - HYDERABAD

Women farmers dry paddy under the sun in their fields in the outskirts of Hyderabad. In spite of problems, cultivation of crops was done in record extents in Telangana after the formation of the State

Women farmers dry paddy under the sun in their fields in the outskirts of Hyderabad. In spite of problems, cultivation of crops was done in record extents in Telangana after the formation of the State | Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL

Amid the scorching mid-summer heat, a captivating sight unfolds across the picturesque landscapes of Telangana. Vast expanses of lush green fields stretch as far as the eye can see, defying the semi-arid climate. In a remarkable display of the agricultural sector’s evolution since 2014, rice mills and storage facilities overflow with abundant stocks of paddy, compelling the need for additional warehouse capacity. This transformation is a testament to the power of a single image, for as the adage goes, it conveys a narrative worth a thousand words.

Increase in irrigation potential with interventions such as the revival of the chain-link minor irrigation tank system under Mission Kakatiya programme, completion of several pending projects as also a few new irrigation projects like Kaleshwaram, availability of uninterrupted and quality, free power for farming and other inputs such as seed, fertilizer and investment support given under Rythu Bandhu have all contributed to that transformation.

In spite of problems here and there, cultivation of crops in record extents in Telangana after formation of the State, particularly the highest extent of paddy raising during the last two Rabi (Yasangi) seasons in the country, has become possible with a slew of pro-agriculture sector policies pursued by the State government although farmers are yet to get assured returns for toil and are forced to throw their perishable produce such as tomato on the roads sometimes.

“Against the cultivation of paddy on 94 lakh acres in the country during the recent Yasangi season, Telangana alone accounted for 56.45 lakh acres. This is an indication of the intensity of pro-farmer measures being implemented in the State,” says Minister for Agriculture S. Niranjan Reddy. Admitting that untimely rains have played spoilsport towards the end of the season by damaging the produce, mainly paddy, maize and horticulture crops to some extent, he highlights the need to advance the Yasangi season of farming by 3-4 weeks to minimise such preventable losses.

Sporadic protests by farmers and criticism of the government by the Opposition parties over problems in procurement of paddy, which was cultivated on about 80% of the total Yasangi extent this year, such as the produce not meeting the fair average quality norms fixed by the Food Corporation of India, delays in purchases at procurement centres and unloading at rice mills and deduction of weight by millers in the name of FAQ norms aside, the exercise has made good progress so far this season with purchases crossing the 50 lakh tonne-mark for the fourth Yasangi season in a row.

“The production of paddy is so high that even 53% increase in the warehousing capacity of the State Government, from 39 lakh tonnes in 2014 to 74 lakh tonnes in 2023 is proving to be short, forcing us to scout for storage space in the nearby by towns/cities in neighbouring States as finding intermediary storage space within the State has also become difficult,” explains a senior official of the Civil Supplies Corporation. The delays in lifting of custom-milled rice stocks from millers by the FCI has also been adding to the problem.

To create some space in rice mills to allow paddy stocks procured this season, the FCI authorities have decided to move about one-lakh tonnes of CMR to its storage facilities in the nearby Bidar city in neighbouring Karnataka. The Civil Supplies officials were also instructed to scout for space in places such as Raichur, Ballari (both in Karnataka) and Kurnool, Jaggayyapet (in Andhra Pradesh).

On the other hand, the State government has finalised the input subsidy of ₹10,000 per acre against the crop loss suffered due to the untimely rains and hailstorm during the first spell from March 16 to 21. It was assessed that crop damage/loss was over 30% as per norms in vogue on nearly 1.52 lakh acres pertaining to about 1.31 lakh farmers, and assistance of ₹151 crore was released. Untimely rains have lashed the State at regular intervals since then, but the estimation of crop loss is “still in progress”, according to senior authorities of the Agriculture department.

Under Rythu Bima, dependants of 99,297 pattadar (landholding) farmers were paid ₹4,965 crore as insurance claim at ₹5 lakh each on their death, irrespective of the cause

State government paid insurance premium of ₹5,384 crore for Rythu Bima since 2018

₹16,144 crore outstanding crop loans up to ₹1 lakh per farmer of nearly 35.32 lakh farmers were waived off as promised prior to 2014 polls

Over ₹1,207 crore outstanding crop loans waived so far under 2018 pre-poll promise to waive up to ₹1 lakh in phases

Under sheep flock (unit) distribution scheme, 82.64 lakh sheep (3.94 lakh units) were given to shepherd communities in the first phase. Second phase to begin from June 5

Fish and shrimp production increased from 2.5 lakh tonnes in 2013-14 to 4.39 lakh tonnes in 2022-23 with production value of ₹2,479 crore and ₹6,656 crore, respectively

Milk production up from 42.07 lakh tonnes in 2013-14 to 58.55 lakh tonnes in 2022-23

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