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To avoid paddy glut crisis, Andhra Pradesh asks farmers to cultivate alternative crops

At a review meeting on agriculture, Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy asked officials to create awareness among farmers on the cultivation of alternative crops. The government is also mulling amendments to laws to make punishment more stringent for selling adulterated seeds.

Written by Sreenivas Janyala | Hyderabad |
December 9, 2021 10:26:29 am
Monsoon in Maharashtra has been patchy with long dry phases in July and August. (Representational)

Taking a cue from the paddy glut crisis in Telangana, the Andhra Pradesh government has asked farmers in the state to raise alternative crops as it looks to promote millet farming.

Andhra Pradesh produced approximately 62,00,000 tonnes of paddy in the Rabi season, but due to unseasonal rains, the previous season’s Kharif paddy crop partially failed, saving the state from a surplus of paddy.

At a review meeting on agriculture, Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy asked officials to create awareness among farmers on the cultivation of alternative crops. “There was a discussion on providing incentives for millet cultivation if the farmers take it up on a large scale and avoid paddy sowing. It has been decided to set up millet boards, and the possibility of setting up millet processing units in areas where cultivation of millets is more is also being considered,’’ said Agriculture Minister Kurasala Kannababu.

Kannababu said that Andhra Pradesh wants to promote organic farming and that awareness is being created among farmers on organic and natural farming. “Organic methods are being promoted as an alternative to chemical fertilisers and pesticides,’’ he said.

The Telangana government is also mulling enforcing alternative crops in the state. Agriculture department officials said that it would be a difficult task as farmers have become accustomed to sowing paddy.

“We may be able to persuade farmers in 20 or 22 lakh acres to go for alternative crops,’’ said Telangana Agriculture Minister S Niranjan Reddy. Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has asked farmers to go in for alternative cash crops such as groundnut, cotton, black gram, green gram, and Bengal gram instead of paddy. To encourage farmers to look for alternative crops, the CM visited fields in Jogulamba Gadwal and Wanaparthy districts where black gram and groundnut are being cultivated and spoke to the farmers about prices they were getting for their crops.

In Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy said sowing alternative crops is the only solution for farmers. He said that organic farming should be given priority by taking Rythu Bharosa Kendras (RBK) as a unit and equipment required for organic farming should also be kept in custom hiring centres (CHCs) being set up under RBKs.

He said the equipment and organic fertiliser manufacturing industries required for organic farming should be encouraged and added to provide organic farming certification through RBKs. As farmers are wary of trying out other crops due to the possibility of getting adulterated seeds, the Andhra Pradesh government is mulling amendments to laws to make punishment more stringent for selling adulterated seeds.

“Strict action would be taken against the sale of fake or adulterated seeds, pesticides and fertilisers and two years imprisonment would be imposed against the responsible,’’ CM Reddy said.

He said amendments would be made in the law in this regard and an ordinance would be released if needed. He said RBKs were set up with a good intention to provide quality seeds, fertilisers and pesticides to the farmers and any violators would not be tolerated. If employees are involved in it, they will be dismissed immediately and legal action would be taken, he added.

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