Sat. Jun 25th, 2022
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They are under stress due to crop damage caused by Cyclone Asani and delayed payments for paddy produced from them

They are under stress due to crop damage caused by Cyclone Asani and delayed payments for paddy produced from them

There has been no end to the woes of paddy growers in SPSR Nellore district as the Asani-induced rains had not only damaged just harvested paddy but also submerged seedlings raised by them for growing the summer crop ”Edagaru”.

Pouring out their woes, a group of farmers in Jaladanki village near here say they raised the rabi crop much against odds as floods in November had forced them to raise paddy seedlings a couple of times again incurring additional costs. As a result, the harvesting of paddy went on till May when they are supposed to raise a new crop with major reservoirs in the Penna delta, including Somasila, having comfortable water levels.

Fifty-year-old P. Bhaskar Reddy, who grew paddy in five acres of leased land, rues his fate now as his hopes of getting decent returns remain shattered. So is the case with hundreds of farmers in the mandal who have been struggling to get even the minimum support price announced by the State government, leave alone a remunerative price for their produce.

A majority of the paddy growers, including tenant farmers sold their produce in the open market at a price much below the MSP without going to the Rythu Bharosa Kendras set up by the State government for doing e-crop booking.

Farmers could not take up cultivation in time in several mandals in the Penna delta, including Sangam, Buchireddypalem, Kovur, Kodavaluru, Vidavalur, Dagadarthi and Allur this year due to heavy rains and floods in November.

“A majority of the farmers were forced to sell their paddy between ₹11,000 and ₹13,000 per putti against the MSP of ₹16,660,” CPI-led Andhra Pradesh Rythu Sangam district president Kishore Babu complains in a conversation with The Hindu.

Another grouse is that there is delay in payment for the paddy procured from farmers. ‘‘I had sold 39 putties of paddy through the RBK in April and still waiting for the amount to be credited to my bank account,’‘ laments D. Malakonda Reddy, who has raised paddy in 13 acres. ‘‘After taking all the trouble in growing paddy, we are incurring losses year after year,’‘ he complains.

Tenant farmers are in an unenvious position as most of them are without the promised Crop Cultivator Rights Card (CCRC). Many farmers prefer to sell their produce at their farm itself to the brokers.

“Farmers in the district have incurred a loss of over ₹3,000 crore due to non-realisation of MSP in the three first crops and two second crops grown in the district so far during the present YSRCP regime,” alleges Telugu Desam Party Polit Bureau member Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy. In some cases, millers unofficially hold paddy received from farmers for one or two months without raising an invoice, he says.

Transparent system: Joint Collector

Joint Collector M.N. Harendhira Prasad maintains that paddy procurement was carried out in a transparent and systematic manner by the Rythu Bharosa Kendras starting from e-crop booking, fixing of date for harvest after examining the moisture content and supply to over 140 mapped rice mills. ‘‘Payment to farmers is ensured within a maximum of 25 days,” he adds.

Civil Supplies District Manager P. Padma says the government had so far procured 2.98 lakh tonnes of rabi paddy from 13,447 farmers from April 4 as against the target of 3 lakh tonnes. ‘‘The State government has released money for making payments to farmers and their bank accounts will be credited soon,” she adds. Farmers had produced 16.90 lakh tonnes of paddy in the district during rabi. As against the total production of 5.50 lakh tonnes during kharif, the government had procured 2 lakh tonnes of paddy from 8,755 farmers and credited ₹360 crore to their bank accounts, she adds.

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