Market intervention and input subsidy brought much-needed relief, says farm commission vice-chairman
Even as the coronavirus pandemic and heavy rains delivered a blow on the farmers in the State, the government has been trying its best to bail them out, State Agriculture Commission Vice-Chairman M.V.S. Nagi Reddy has said.
The unprecedented rain in several spells across the monsoon season and beyond, which culminated in the incessant precipitation under the influence of Cyclone Nivar sank all the hopes of farmers as crops in lakhs of acres were damaged. Farmers had a tough time in selling their produce owing to the slowdown induced by COVID-19 pandemic.
“However, the government did its best to alleviate the sufferings of the farmers amid adverse climatic and market conditions,” said Mr. Naggi Reddy.
Farmers got the much-needed relief as the State government had launched market intervention for the farmers cultivating tobacco, turmeric and jowar among other crops, who were left to fend for themselves, he says.
“Paddy growers alone got a benefit of ₹15,000 crore, thanks to the market intervention scheme. Bengal gram growers received benefits to the tune of ₹966 crore. Further, the government provided input subsidy of ₹945 crore to 12 lakh farmers who lost their standing crops in 16.42 lakh acres between June and September, again in October, November-end,” said Mr. Naggi Reddy.
He alleged that the previous TDP government had provided the relief to farmers a year or two latter.
Further, the government, which was of the view that debt waiver was not a permanent solution to the problems being faced by the farmers, provided a financial benefit to the tune of ₹18,900 crore, including capital subsidy of ₹13,100 crore to more than 51.59 lakh farmers, he explained.
Despite odds, the State registered a growth rate 16.03% in the agriculture and allied sector in 2020 as against 6.54% in the previous year. The sector had registered a negative growth of 10.54% during the fifth year of the TDP regime, he said quoting a socio-economic survey report.
Thanks to the wet spell, the State produced 158 lakh tonnes of food grain during the year, 26.59 lakh tonnes more than the previous year.
Despite the best efforts of the government, 82 farmers ended their lives in the State during this fiscal as against 286 in the previous fiscal. The count was far less when compared to 900 during the TDP regime, he said. The YSRCP government had ensured an enhanced compensation of ₹7 lakh to the bereaved farmers’ families as against ₹5 lakh provided earlier, said Mr. Naggi Reddy.
Asserting that the government was committed to providing free power to farmers, Mr. Naggi Reddy said a sum of ₹17,430 crore had been spent for the purpose, including clearing arrears of ₹8,655 crore that was pending.
“The State government has pressed the Markfed into the tobacco sector this year. As a result, farmers in traditional tobacco growing areas in Prakasam district were benefited by ₹150 crore,” YSRCP farmers wing district president Mareddy Subba Reddy added.