Hyderabad: Though the central wants the farm incomes to be doubled in four year, it has not spelt out a roadmap to achieve this. The Government should announce a minimum support price to ensure that the farmer incomes correspond to the toil as well as investment that farmers put in, said Telangana Agriculture Minister Pocharam Srinivas Reddy.
Telangana with its reforms including providing 24 hour power to the farming sector has made the beginning to increase the farm incomes, he said adding that the State would be in a position to provide water for one crore acre once the irrigation projects that are underway are completed.
Inaugurating Agri Tech South 2018, a three-day exhibition and conference on agri technology and innovation, oraganised by Confederation of Indian Industry and Prof Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University here, he said with Kaleshwaram project getting ready, the State would be in a position to provide water for about 40-45 lakh acre in both khariff and rabi every year. The State is also intent to bring a further 30 lakh acre under irrigation with the Palamuru project.
New passbooks (72 lakh) will be issued on March 11. The land records cleansing exercise has been completed. Based on these, the Telangana Government will provide Rs 4,000 per acre to farmers as input costs. This will entail an expenditure of Rs 6,000 crore this season and another Rs 4,000 crore in the rabi, the Minister said adding that the effort is to cut down on the loans that farmers take for cultivation.
Seized of the cash crunch in the banking and ATMs systems, Reddy said that a team from Telangana has apprised the Centre about the cash crunch difficulty and asked it to replenish the ATMs accordingly to ensure that the farmers withdraw the input amount and use it for farming. This Rs 10,000 crore spend will be an annual affair, he said.
The farmers can open zero accounts in any branch and encash these cheques. The farmers might have a loan overdue in certain banks from the previous loans. However, the amount being given for meeting the input expenses should not be used for repaying the loans, he clarified.
“With 24-hour power, water and Rs 4,000 per acre as input costs, the farmers should be in a position to increase the farm revenues,” the Minister said.
MSP and subsidy
Telangana has made representations to the Centre to fix minimum support price to many agri-produces including turmeric and chilli. But so far, no action has been initiated in this direction, the Agriculture Minister said. Telangana has planned Rythu Samanvaya Samithis for undertaking MSP operations and to enhance the bargaining power of farmers in the villages and mandals.
A corpus of Rs 6,000-7,000 crore will be built allowing the Samithis to intervene in case the market price falls below the MSP. The storage space in the State too has been increased from 4 lakh tonne four years ago. Space for storing about 25 lakh tonne is getting ready, he said. The State is also providing upto 75 per cent subsidy for polyhouses, 80 per cent for micro irrigation while stretching the ceiling to 12.5 acre (five hectare) compared to 2 hectare ceiling in many States.
Mechanisation and processing
A Cabinet Sub-Committee has been formed to study and recommend the setting up of agro- processing centres to create local employment. The State has set a target for complete mechanisation of farm activities including sowing and harvesting in three years. A blueprint for this is being worked out, said Reddy.