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Farmer takes experts to task

September 13, 2015 12:00 am | Updated 05:44 am IST

Venkat Reddy shares his experience of farming at the workshop, on Friday.– Photo: By arrangement

Venkat Reddy shares his experience of farming at the workshop, on Friday.– Photo: By arrangement

farmer from Nalgonda was the highlight at a workshop on ‘Agriculture in Telangana - problems and prospects’ here on Saturday, questioning the wisdom of agricultural scientists and consultants in understanding the issues plaguing the sector.

Venkat Reddy literally changed the course of the debate at the meeting by addressing the experienced scientists on behalf of the farming community.

Before he took the mike, a few speakers indirectly put the blame on farmers, with one academic saying that a family devoting complete attention to a small landholding, along with livestock rearing, will not incur losses if the farmer works hard and is not addicted to liquor.

Among other views were those that supported the government’s argument that farmers’ suicides were a media hype and also that many farmers are turning to commercial crops like cotton, which increased the losses.

A scientist said the government could not be blamed for everything that goes wrong, while another pointed out that the huge subsidies had failed to yield results.

There were also suggestions to be open-minded about contract farming practices and public-private-partnerships.

However, after Mr. Reddy shared his experience of farming, none had any solution to his predicament.

“I own 22 acres of land, and had grown papaya in 10 acres. The yield was 520 tonnes. But I had to sell the produce at Rs.2 a piece in the market. I also cultivated ginger as an intercrop which yielded 110 quintals, but I had to sell it at Rs.28 per kg in the market,” he said, choked with emotion.

Papaya is being sold in the retail market at Rs.30 a piece, while ginger costs Rs.80-90 per kg.

“I also rear cattle. I am educated, and pursuing my Ph.D, yet I know how to till. I never used chemicals on the field, instead, paid for 50 tractors of organic manure, and Rs.2,600 per packet of papaya seeds.”

Former Congress MLA A. Praveen Reddy of Mulkanoor cooperative rural bank later put the proceedings in a proper perspective by explaining how the bank saved farmers from private money lenders.

G.V. Ramanjaneyulu from the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture put the number of farmers’ suicides in Telangana at 30,000 over the last 20 years, and said there was an urgent need to support the affected families.

I own 22 acres of land, and had grown papaya in 10 acres. The yield was 520 tonnes. But I had to sell the produce at Rs.2 a piece in the market

Venkat Reddy

Farmer

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