Farmers, NGOs oppose KCR’s regulating farming plan

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on May 25, 2020

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao   -  Mohammed_Yousuf The Hindu

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s plan to regulate farming in the State has met with strong criticism from farmers, farmers’ unions and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in the primary sector.

They demanded that the Telangana Government withdraw the unilateral policy of crop regulation and come up with a rational and sustainable Agricultural Policy based on wide consultations.

They alleged that the State government should have discussed the proposals with the farmers, experts in the field, and farmers’ unions before finalising it.

To protest against the unilateral decision by the State Government to enforce monocropping of a few crops, farmers threatened State-wide protests. To begin with, they would organise sit-ins in all the district headquarters on May 27.

Farmers, representatives of farmers unions and agricultural experts had discussed the government’s new plan on Saturday.

Beginning this cropping year, farmers have been told to grow crops as suggested by the government. According to the tentative plan, farmers have been asked to grow cotton on 65-70 lakh acres, paddy on 40 lakh acres and redgram on 10-15 lakh acres of land. They are asked not to grow maize in the kharif season.

They criticised the Government for threatening to deny Rythu Bandhu (financial assistance of ₹5,000 each in kharif and rabi crops for every acre a farmer owns) for those who deviated from the government’s prescribed cropping plan.

“The government should first ensure all support systems for farmers including Minimum Support Prices, procurement and marketing facilities, crop insurance and credit support,” Sarampalli Malla Reddy, Vice-President of All India Kisan Sabha, said.

“Who will take responsibility if a government-prescribed crop fails or if they don’t get good price in the market?” he asked.

“The Telangana government’s decision took everyone by surprise. Experts had told the government to reduce the cotton and paddy areas. Based on soil type, soil depth and water availability, only about 25 lakh acres in the State is suitable for cotton cultivation,” GV Ramanjaneyulu, Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA), has said.

It was unscientific to expand the cotton area instead of reducing it, he felt.

What Telangana should consider is to expand the area under pulses and oilseeds, which were suited for the lands here.

“We need to expand vegetable cultivation from two lakh acres to 10 lakh acres,” he pointed out.

Published on May 25, 2020

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