Soybean farmers in Maharashtra have taken the lead when it comes to insuring their crop. Latest data from the department of agriculture shows that out of 41.67 lakh hectares of the oilseed sown in the state, 27.58 lakh hectares have been insured under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY).
Data shows that soybean farmers are leading in insuring their crop, as around 65 per cent of soybean sown area has come under insurance. The oilseed is a major crop in Marathwada and Vidarbha, along with cotton, pigeon pea (toor), moong and urad. Farmers from these areas, where maximum vagaries of nature are reported, have taken the lead.
The oilseed, which stays on the fields for around 120 days, is also the most popular crop in the state with 31 per cent of the total 1.37 crore hectares cropped area this season. Kapas (raw unginned seed cotton) comes a close second with 41.45 lakh hectares of sowing. Toor (12.19 lakh hectares) and maize (8.53 lakh hectares) are some other popular crops in the state.
Soybean growers in the state point to greater risk, as compared to growing other crops like cotton or toor. Vilash Ufade, a soybean grower from Latur district, said in the last few years, heavy rain during September-October had become more of a norm than an exception in the state. “The rain coincides with the harvesting time of the crop and, in many cases, crop damage reported by farmers is almost 100 per cent,” he said.
Ufade also said unlike the oilseed, cotton had a longer duration on the fields, ensuring some yield for farmers. “Cotton growers take multiple picking of their crop so even if early picking in October is lost, subsequent pickings allow farmers to get returns on their crop,” he added.
Farmers in the state have given a thumbs up to the crop insurance scheme, which has faced heavy criticism from certain quarters with some farmer groups saying it was not “farmer-friendly”. The last date for farmer registration for the process ended on July 31, while banks are expected to complete the work of updating servers by August 15.
Consolidated data till August 11 shows that 99.06 lakh farmers have taken part in the scheme, under which 52.96 lakh hectares of crop area has been insured. Farmers have paid around Rs 474.24 crore (the net of state and central governments’ contribution) as contribution to the premium, which sums up to Rs 4,910.9 crore as collected by the state.
In the state, non-loanee farmers (those relying on institutional finance for farming activity) — for whom participation is voluntary — exceed the number of loanee farmers, when it comes to enrolment under the scheme.
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