Konaseema in East Godavari district, located in the heart of Godavari delta, presents a picture of desolation and despair, as farmers have given up on paddy cultivation for the kharif season for want of a remunerative price and as farming has become impossible on several other counts.
According to official estimates, crop holiday is being observed in 80,000-90,000 acres in the area, but it could be more than one lakh acres according to unofficial estimates. “It is a crying shame that farmers in the area have been driven to this point of despair by an insensitive and insensible Government. The State Government has failed to provide marketing facility to the paddy produced in the last rabi season and there is no storage space available in the district or elsewhere in the State. Farmers have come to the conclusion that paddy cultivation is no longer possible,” says Mr G. Narasimharaju Yadav, a progressive farmer in Krishna district who was awarded Padmasri by the Union Government. Mr Vinod Agarwal, President of the AP Rice Exporters' Association, has appealed to the Union Government to allow non-basmati rice exports on a substantial scale to ease the problem. The State Government has constituted a committee under the leadership of Mr Mohan Kanda, former Chief Secretary, to go into the issues relating to crop holiday and suggest remedial measures.