Agri Business

Telangana crop regulation: Give us assurance on pricing, marketing, say farmer bodies

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on May 13, 2020 Published on May 13, 2020

With kharif season just weeks away, there’s anxiety over new scheme’s timeframe

Farmers have asked the Telangana government to hold consultations on crop regulation, minimum support price (MSP), assured marketing and protection of dryland crops ahead of implementing its ambitious crop regulation plan.

The K Chandrashekar Rao government has announced a proposal to regulate the cropping pattern in the State. According to initial plans, farmers will be asked to grow paddy on 50 lakh acres, cotton on 50 lakh acres and red gram on 10 lakh acres. Farm lands close to urban areas will grow vegetables and horticultural crops.

The move has evoked interest and anxiety among farmers, as vanakalam (kharif season) is just three weeks away.

“What we expect is clarity on pricing for various crops, including vegetables. We should know the government’s plan for procurement. We ask the government to come out with detailed information on MSP for all the crops that are grown in the State,” T Sagar, General Secretary of the Telangana Rythu Sangham, told BusinessLine.

The implementation time for such an ambitious scheme is too short, he observed.

Call for clarity

Welcoming the government’s move to regulate the crops, Sagar admitted that said some sort of regulation is required. “But there is no use rushing it and forcing it on farmers at short notice. If it is serious about regulation, it should get ready with a proper plan for the rabi season and put it out for wide consultation,” he said.

On Tuesday, the Chief Minister said farmers should stick to the crop plan suggested by the government. Any violations could make them ineligible for the Rythu Bandhu scheme (grant of ₹5,000 each in the kharif and rabi seasons for every acre that a farmer owns).

Ravi Kanneganti of the Rythu Swarajya Vedika, an umbrella organisation of intellectuals, NGOs and farmers’ associations, said the government must first undertake a proper assessment of soil health. Heavy reliance on water-guzzling crops such as paddy has depleted soil health, he added.

“According to the plan, only three crops (paddy, cotton and red gram) would cover 1.1 crore acres. What’s the plan for the rest of the crops? Last year, the farmers grew about 26 different crops,” he said.

Dryland crops

A small farmer growing millets in Sangareddy district wondered what would be the plan for dryland crops. “You can’t grow major crops here. We have been struggling to grow millets with meagre water resources. I am wondering what I will be asked to grow,” he said.

Telangana Rythu Sangham’s Sagar said there should be a sound plan to cover millets as well. “You must tell them (farmers) what’s the kind of price they will get if they grow millets,” he said.

Another major challenge would be identifying ‘real’ cultivators. A quarter of the 60 lakh farmers in the State are tenant farmers. “They don’t get Rythu Bandhu money. Will they be obliged to conform to the crop plan?” Rythu Swarajya Vedika’s Kanneganti asked.

Published on May 13, 2020
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