Agri Business

Crop holiday to continue in rice bowl area in rabi

K V Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on November 12, 2017

A file photo of farmers declaring crop holiday at Gouravaram village in Andhra Pradesh’s Krishna district. — Ch.Vijaya Bhaskar   -  Business Line

A farmer looking his empty field at Motamarri village in Khammam District (AP) due to crop Holiday declared in his village. - Photo: G N Rao   -  Business Line

Mr Nekkonda Subba Rao, 73, has been a farmer for about 55 years at Achanta in East Godavari district. He never had any inkling to break his stride. But he was forced to put a break last kharif when he joined thousands of farmers in Andhra Pradesh to declare crop holiday, protesting against insufficient returns on paddy.

On Thursday, two weeks into the rabi season, he sees no reason to come back to the fields because nothing has changed ever since. “They have not increased the MSP (minimum support price). Not a rupee more,” he points out.

MSP for paddy stands at Rs 1,080 a quintal, while cost of production is at Rs 1,200. Prof. Swaminathan Committee favoured an MSP with 50 per cent more to cost of production.

The other major reason is, only half of the 10 lakh acres under canals are going to get Godavari waters. “Officials have indicated that only 4.5 lakh acres will get water. Farmers are favouring to go for crop holiday in rabi too,” Mr Subba Rao told Business Line over phone.

With things going against them, even sugarcane farmers are planning to join paddy farmers in declaring crop holiday. Top executives of Andhra Pradesh Sugarcane Growers Association will meet at Challapally on November 5 to discuss the issue.

Three sugar factories in the area cover an area of 14 lakh acres. “We may go for crop holiday if we do not get a reasonable support price,” Mr N V S Sharma, a sugar farmer, said.

The two districts grow crops in an area of 5.25 lakh hectares in rabi, with paddy dominating the scene with 4 lakh hectares, or one-fourth of State's paddy area of 17 lakh ha in the season.

Mr Balaram, a State leader of CPI(M)-affiliated Andhra Pradesh Rythu Sangham, alleged that farmers were at the mercy of millers and middlemen and not getting payments on time. “80 per cent of area in the two districts under tenancy. They are the worst hit. We see a clear trend in favour of crop holiday this season.”

Published on November 03, 2011

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