Friday, 9 September 2011

Crop holiday: Farm scientists fear that crop holiday in AP may turn contagious

By 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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