Rythu JAC releases Survey report on Drought and Crop Loans situation
Prof.Kodandaram calls for a Chalo Hyderabad program of farmers
Meeting urges Telangana government to stop neglect of the farmers
At a Roundtableorganized at Sundarayya Vigyana Kendram, Hyderabad on September 6, 2016, Telangana Rythu JAC released a Survey report on the prevailing Drought and Crop Loans situation in the state. The village-level survey was conducted by Rythu JAC between August 26thand September 4thin 38 Mandals across 7 districts of Telangana. The survey showed that the failure of rains in August and late July have created a drought situation in many parts of the state. A dry spellof more than 21 consecutive days without rain was experienced in 32 out of the 38 Mandals surveyed, resulting in severe damage to the crops – especially maize, paddy, red gram, cotton, green gram and soya. More than 60 farmers have already committed suicide in the month of August, mainly due to the crop failure.
The farmers who lost their crop due to drought last year hasn’t yet received crop compensation or input subsidy until now, though the drought was declared in November 2015 and the funds were received from the Centre by April 2016. The survey also revealed that most of the farmers did not get crop loans until mid-August and many of them have not yet received them even now – leaving them at the mercy of high-interest loans from moneylenders. (Highlights of the survey report are provided below.)
The Roundtablewas attended by the key members of Telangana Rythu JAC – convenor Dr.Jalapathi Rao, Prof. Kodandaram, Dr.G.V.Ramanjaneyulu, agricultural scientist, Ravi Kanneganti and Kirankumar Vissa of Rythu Swarajya Vedika, Ananth Reddy of All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha, Anji Reddy and Sridhar Reddy of Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, Ashalatha and Sajaya of Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch – and several representatives from various districts. Other key participants included Sarampally Malla Reddy, National Vice President of All India Kisan Sabha and Pittala Ravinder, leader of Telangana JAC.
After presentation of the survey report by Kirankumar Vissa and description of the ground situation by representatives from various districts, the Roundtablediscussed the demands and action plan. Based on the discussion, Prof.Kodandaram concluded that the farmers are facing a very dire situation and they are suffering not only from adverse climatic conditions but also from sheer neglect from the government machinery. To show solidarity with the farmers, Telangana Rythu JAC along with all farmer unions and people’s organizations will organize solidarity programs on October 2nd. Prof.Kodandaram also gave a call for Chalo Hyderabad by farmers across the state to press their demands. Outreach programs in districts will be organized in the next 2 months to mobilize for Chalo Hyderabad.
- The government should immediately disburse input subsidy to the farmers who lost crop during last year’s drought.
- The government should give assurance of crop compensation to all farmers whose crop is damaged due to lack of rains this season, and immediately begin assessment of crop damage.
- The government should ensure immediate release of crop loans to all farmers including tenant farmers.
- There should be a special debate in the upcoming Assembly session on the drought situation, crop loans and farmers’ distress.
- The revised Drought Manual should be put forward for inputs from farmers’ organizations, and a finalized version should be adopted by the government zat the earliest.
Highlights of Survey Report
The village level survey was conducted in the following districts: Warangal (8 Mandals), Medak (14 Mandals), Mahbubnagar (4 Mandals), Nalgonda (7 Mandals), Rangareddy (1 Mandal), Khammam (2 Mandals) and Nizamabad (2 Mandals).
Failure of rains and Damage to Crops:
In 32 out of the 38 Mandals, there was failure of rains in July and August with dry spellsof longer than 21 consecutive days without rainfall. In some villages, the dry spell lasted 30 days or even 45 days. This resulted in severe crop damage.
Two examples: (1) In Katkur village of Bacchannapet Mandal in Warangal district, there was no rain for 35 days from July 22nduntil the day of survey in the last week of August. Out of the 900 acres sown by the farmers, crop was damaged in 700 acres – including 500 acres of maize, 150 acres of cotton, and 50 acres of paddy. (2) In Gowraipalli village of Yadagirigutta Mandal in Nalgonda district, out of the 600 acres sown, the crop has been damaged in 480 acres – including maize, cotton, red gram and jowar.
Even though there have been heavy rains in the past one week, much of the damaged crop would not recover, especially maize. In case of other crops, there may be some recovery but the yields are expected to be low – once again resulting in losses to the farmers.
The survey revealed that in 14 out of 38 Mandals, the farmers had not yet received crop loans by end of August! In another 13 Mandals, they got the bank loans only in mid-August. The primary reason given by the banks is the delay in release of the 3rdinstallment of Loan Waiver by the government to the banks, and even when it was released in mid-August, only half the required amount was released.
The delay in the crop loan disbursement has meant that the farmers have once again been forced to take high interest loans from money-lenders pushing them into a debt trap. Also, it has meant that the deadlines for crop insurance have passed. Less than 20% of the farmers have been covered by crop insurance, despite the big fanfare of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana.
Government support in Drought-affected Mandals of last year:
The survey also revealed that government support for farmers in the drought-affected Mandals of last year has been very poor.
Crop Compensation/Input Subsidy: Though the drought was declared in November 2015 and the lists of farmers who had crop damage were prepared in December 2015, and the funds were released by the Centre by April 2016, the input subsidy has not been disbursed to farmers until now. This has defeated the purpose of input subsidy, which is meant to help farmers sow their crops for this season.
Support for Cattle: Among all the villages surveyed, only one village reported that they got fodder for cattle under subsidy (100 kg at Rs.650). All the other villages reported that there was no fodder support for saving the cattle in the drought season. This meant that farmers had to sell the cattle in distress.
The survey showed that in 25 villages, more than 25% of the cattle was sold by the farmers due to drought. Due to the distress sale, the farmers often got only 1/3rdor 1/4thof the normal price of the cattle – making a big loss. For example, in a village in Rajapet Mandal of Nalgonda district, there were 1000 cattle, out of which 350 were sold due to drought. The normal price was Rs.30,000 on an average but the average price they got on sale was only Rs.8,000. This meant that in the single village, 77 lakh rupees were lost by the farmers.
For more details, contact:
Kirankumar Vissa: 9701705743; Dr.Ramanjaneyulu: 9000699702