Despite good rain forecast, government failure to pay. Advantages and timely bank loans and the COVID-19 situation are not helping the farmers cause
With the onset of the monsoons, farmers in the state started farming, although the forecast by the weather service for 2021 suggests a normal monsoon and a good kharif harvest.
Farmers have started preparing land and setting up rice tree nurseries from which seedlings are transplanted into fields. Usually the transplants are done in the second week of June. In some parts of the state where farmers rely on canal irrigation, tillage work is proceeding at a brisk pace. The land was prepared where the farmers grow rain plants.
The target acreage for Kharif in 2021 is 94.20 lakh acres, 4% more than in 2020 (90.86 lakh acres). The annual credit plan for 2021-22 is expected to be more than 1.48 lakh crore.
Factors of concern
On the other hand, the “procedural disputes” and restrictions caused by COVID-19 have worried farmers. Some of the “immediate problems” they face include limited bank hours, delay in issuing CCRCs, interest-free loans and Rythu Bharosa, liquidity shortages and farm labor unavailability.
The farmers Soppala Yenmasu and Kutumba Rao from Antarvedi in the East Godavari district did not receive the cash benefits under Rythu Bharosa. “Last year, from May to June, I received 13,500 yen in two installments. This year my account was only credited with 2,000 yen which was released by the central government. I have not yet received a cent from the state government, ”says Kesanasetti from the same village.
Limited working hours
Farmers run out of liquid cash for a number of reasons, including failing to pay fees for the rice fields bought by the government. Due to the limited opening times of the banks, no loans are possible, he says. (Bank opening hours were limited to 9 am-12pm until Thursday. The revised bank guidelines have yet to be released in line with the easing of the curfew).
Even after hours of queuing in front of the banks, there is no guarantee that they will get their job done, say farmers. “The banks don’t issue more than 50 tokens per day. Where do farmers go for loans? ”Asks A. Katamaiah from Anantapur District.
“Farmers are forced to go to private moneylenders because of the hurdles in formal lending. What good is it if banks lend out in July-August? By then, farmers will have taken out private loans, ”says Jagannatham, a farmer leader. The procedures for issuing CCRCs have yet to be completed and tenants will not receive credit without the cards. The unavailability of farm workers in view of the COVID-19 restrictions also affects the company, he says.
Farmers like T. Babu Rao and Vanna Reddy believe that paying contributions on time and having Rythu Bharosa benefits credited will help them a lot and save them the hassle of going from pillar to pillar to borrow.
Andhra Pradesh State Secretary General Ryotu Sangham, KVV Prasad, points out that to date no water has been released for agricultural use. It should be published by June 10th. It will likely affect the Kharif operations, he says.