Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Crop holiday takes ICAR by surprise; fears that crop holiday in AP may spread to other States

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Aug 23: The Indian Council of Agricultural Research fears that
the crop holiday declared by farmers in some villages of East Godavari
district will turn contagious and spread to all parts of the country.

"The situation is serious and we are addressing the issue. It may spread to
other areas in the country," said ICAR deputy director-general Dr AK Singh.
Taking a cue from their counterparts in East Godavari, farmers in parts of
Kurnool, Khammam and Nellore districts have already announced their
intention to go in for a crop holiday this khariff, and extend it to rabi too.

The ICAR has sent an expert team to East Godavari for a first hand
assessment of the problem. The team found that farmers have been suffering
losses because of poor returns and imbalance between input cost and the
revenue they earn from the yield. The Mohan Kanda panel on crop holiday
also deputed its team to the district. The ICAR team has already submitted its
report to the Centre, while the Mohan Kanda committee is busy preparing its
report.

"What is worrying is that farmers want to continue the crop holiday during
rabi season too. This is really a trouble situation. Rabi is the season when
farmers except some good returns. They want extend the crop holiday from
khariff to rabi season too. The argument of farmers is that the more they sow
the more the loss; the lesser they sow the lesser the loss; and no sowings and
no loss," Dr MV Rao, former special director-general ICAR said. Dr Rao is
member of the Mohan Kanda panel.

Dr B Venkateswarlu, director of Central Research Institute for Dryland
Agriculture, said farmers do not need any technological intervention, but a
change in government policies. "We have submitted our report to the
government. The Centre and the State will definitely do something to help
farmers," he said adding that the situation is quite "serious".

Dr Singh pointed out that there's no surplus production of food grains in the
country and if stocks have piled up with farmers, it's because of lack of
purchasing power by poorer sections. "The production target is as per the
population of the country. The poor do not have money to purchase enough
grains and this leads to piling up of grains with farmers," he clarified.

The senior agricultural scientists deliberated the agricultural scenario in the
country and the impact of climate change on crops, at a national conference
on sustainable agriculture and climate change here on Tuesday. They said
India has been identified as one of the countries that will have greater
challenges from global warming which will have an impact on food security.

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