Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday said an integrated scheme to ensure economic sustenance for small and marginal farmers was being worked out to put an end to farmer suicides in Maharashtra. Fadnavis said, “The state has decided to include 25 lakh farmers in value chain for all major crops.” This would be done in collaboration with 40 companies that have assured to make investments in agriculture sectors in Maharashtra, he added.
A new comprehensive policy centred on investment partnership between state government and private sector on one hand and enhancing the irrigation potential on the other is being simultaneously undertaken to enhance the livelihood of farmers. In every region apart from crop cultivation the stress would be on alternative sources of sustained income flow to ensure farmers are not dependent on moneylenders or resort to any extreme measures such as ending their own lives. The alternative source of livelihood such as dairy, fisheries or poultry farming is being worked region wise to ensure farmers can survive even if their crops fail.
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Fadnavis said, “Even if a single farmer is driven to end his life it is extremely painful and not acceptable in a state like Maharashtra. Notwithstanding the causes that lead to such incidents, my government is determined to make farmer’s self-reliant through drastic policy changes in coming years.”
At a meeting held with senior bureaucrats, Fadnavis said Maharashtra would have to rise to the challenge posed by natural calamity, that has adversely hit 90 lakh farmers. As a result district-wise there should be a study to identify the problems, along with concrete solutions, to put an end to farmer suicides.
According to the department of agriculture, the state has registered 600 cases of farmer suicides between January and April 2014. Majority of the deaths has taken place in Marathwada and Vidarbha region. There have been a few cases of farmers ending lives from North Maharashtra and Western Maharashtra not exceeding 15 till date. In Vidarbha out of ten districts the cases of suicides are confined to four districts namely Yavatmal, Amravati, Akola and Buldhana. Whereas, in Marathwada out of eight districts the maximum cases of suicides have been reported from districts of Aurangabad, Beed, Jalna.
Apart from reforms in agriculture, irrigation and rural ministry the chief minister has also decided to address the social aspects that has altered the life style in rural Maharashtra. Some of the aspects which needs to be addressed are higher expenditure in rural weddings where the farmers have to borrow heavy loans from private moneylenders.