Suryapet: There certainly is a compelling reason behind farmers’ reluctance to shift from paddy cultivation to pulses, cotton or even vegetables. No, its neither the pests nor the human effort required to raise crops other than paddy. But its the marauding groups of monkeys that forced the farmers to opt for paddy cultivation only in this district.
Groups of monkeys, often numbering more than a hundred, descend on villages and agricultural fields for forage for food. In the process, the simians leave a trail of destruction, which the hapless farmer does not know to how to prevent. This has been the classic devil and the deep sea situation, a farmer faces in this part of the State, with the FCI now asserting that it would not procure paddy produced in the yasangi season.
“We may not even get less than 20 per cent of the yield, if we sow pulses, vegetables or even cotton”, rues Amabtai Sagar Reddy, a farmer from Singaram village. Troops of monkeys which raid the agriculture fields are virtually unstoppable. “It not just confined to agricutlural fields. Even they would raid villages and there is no protection for any of us”, argue the farmers in almost all the mandals in this district.
Farmers, housewives, merchants and others tried out different methods to scare away these marauding monkeys. From stuffed tigers being perched atop houses to renting out the black-faced langurs…the villagers tried out everything in vain.
The simian challenge got aggravated day by day and this forced a culture shift among farmers – they opt for only paddy cultivation nowadays.
Another farmer Arepula Raju of Patharlaphad of Athmakur (S) mandal lists out another peculiar problem. Farmers were reluctant to cultivate cotton due to continuous wetness of the land, a condition created due to improved irrigation facility, filling up of irrigation tanks with river water and improved ground water level. And now monkeys would even damage the cotton crops, he narrates.
“We have no other option, but to go for paddy cultivation in view of this situation”, a helpless K Jahangir of Jajireddygudem declares. Its not just in the fields, but monkey troops wer even raiding the paddy dumps at IKP and PACS procurement centres. “If this is the situation, can anyone even think of raising vegetable crops?”.
Paddy is the main crop for ayacut farmers of Left canal of Nagarjuna Sagar Project (NSP), Musi project and SRSP Stage-II canal in the district. According to District Agriculture Officer Rama Rao Naik, paddy is sown in over four lakh acres in the last yasangi season. “We are trying to educate the farmers to take up cultivation of alternative crops of paddy in light of the decision of FCI”, he added.
Paddy is the major cultivating crop in Suryapet, Chivvemla, Penphad, Athmakur(S), Thungathurthy, Tirumalgiri, Jajireddygudem, Nuthankal, Maddirala, Nagaram, Kodad, Munagala, Mothey, Nidmanoor, Huzurnagar, Garidepally, Mellecheruvu, Mattampally, Breducherla, Penphad and Chinthalapalem mandals in the district. Irrigation facility to nearly two lakh acres through SRSP Stage-II canal also boosted the cultivation of paddy in the district.
Almost all these mandals have been facing monkey menace, which forced the farmers not even to think about cultivating pulses or any other crop than paddy.
Now you can get handpicked stories from Telangana Today on Telegram everyday.