Sunday, December 12, 2010

Heavy rains whipped the Farmers

The depression in Bay of Bengal turned into disaster for Andhra Pradesh farmers, their crops were badly affected with intensified thunderstorms. Heavy showers and thunderstorms all over the districts damaged the crops so much that nothing of the crop remains. The paddy heaps were completely submerged in the flood drowns fields, and the Cotton, Chilly, Corn, Sugarcane which were ready to harvest have gone waste and tobacco was severely damaged in the plantation stage. Total 25.06 lakhs of acers of agriculture crops affected in the rain-hit districts, paddy is 17.84 lakhs of acers and Cotton is 5.83 lakhs of acres among the total. The farmers were shocked to witness their hard grown grain was sinking in floods and the ready-to-be-harvested crops have been spoilt. All the farmers are in tears, frustration, misery with the floods havoc and some farmer’s suicides were reported.

In the 11th 5 years plan, our government set a target of 4% growth in agriculture but this year the agriculture is in retrograde motion. Andhra Pradesh farmers have been facing cyclones in recent months with “Khaimuk”, “Nisha”, “Laila”, “Jal” and most recent heavy rains have caused damage to their crops. Andhra Pradesh has recorded the highest number of floods in 2010 during the last 30years, it will take another 5 years to farmers to recover from all kinds of losses. The government estimates that paddy loss is approx to Rs.2000 crores and farmers have no hope that the mill owners will buy the wet and black colored paddy. Farmers have to spend again to clean the fields from the flood water.

Crop Insurance became a futile exercise, the Agriculture officials are failed to convince the farmers to get the insurance coverage for their crops. Lending Banks are used to endorse the crop insurance while giving the crop loans to the farmers but the most of the loans have given to the land owned farmers. 60% of the farming has been undertaken by the tenant farmers who are not able to get loans from banks since they are not land owners and eventually no insurance coverage. Government has to enumerate the tenant farmers while assessing the crop damages since most of the victims are tenant farmers.

Government has to help the farmers to recover from their perils by paying the compensation by each cropwise. Government should take the steps to buy the paddy which was discolored and soaked in rain water. Fresh loans have to be given for next crop season and the moratorium should be ordered on existing loans. Government has to provide the subsidized seeds, fertilizers and pesticides for upcoming crop season. Government has to come up with a paradigm for crop insurance plan to the tenant farmers since the majority of agriculture land is under lease of them. Government has to support small and marginal farmers otherwise they are unable to bare losses and they can’t keep doing agriculture.