HYDERABAD: The Andhra Pradesh government will shortly take up a special drive, Polam Pilustondi (Farmland Beckons), for development and welfare of the farmer.
Disclosing this to the farmers’ leaders who met him at his residence here on Tuesday, chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu said that his government had agriculture and farmers’ interests as top priority and was determined to improve the standards of the agriculture and the living standards of farmers.
He said the government was contemplating providing I-pads to every farmer in the State, so they can avail the information about the availability of quality seeds and fertilisers, know the best suited crops to be cultivated, given the soil and climatic conditions, know the results of soil fertility tests, get information on market position of different agriculture produce and at the same time avail the information provided to the farmer through satellites.
Holding the policies of the previous governments responsible for the distress of farmers, he said that for the last one decade, there has been no progress on agricultural research front. “If India is today lagging behind other countries in agriculture, Andhra Pradesh is lagging behind other states in India. There is every need to change the situation.”
Bemoaning the escalating costs of farm inputs and decreasing yield, he said that the previous government had chosen not to continue with soil testing, farmers training and several other agriculture-related activities. Today, farmers are forced to use fertilisers and pesticides suggested by the shopkeepers selling them.
Saying that in the given situation hurdles were getting removed from the way Polavaram project has come as a great relief to farmers, he said the multipurpose irrigation project would help in stabilising several thousands of acres in Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam districts. By utilising the waters of Vamsadhara and Nagavali rivers in a better manner, farmers in Vizianagaram and Srikakulam district also would stand to benefit a lot. Through the Somasila and Kandaleru projects, Nellore and Chittoor districts will benefit. “We are making efforts to bring 25 lakh acres in Anantapur district, which is one of the few places in the country facing severe rainfall deficit, by utilising micro-irrigation like drip and sprinkler systems. Community drip irrigation system will be developed in Chittoor, Kadapa and Kurnool to benefit farmers,” he said.
The chief minister said that allied sectors like horticulture, sericulture, dairy, fishing, poultry and aquaculture, which give two to three times more income than agriculture, would also be encouraged. He assured to give top priority for the completion of various pending irrigation projects in the state. “We want farmers to benefit and prosper. We will link the agriculture to NREGS, so the farmers can get Rs 2000 to Rs 3000 additional income per acre,” he said.
Naidu emphasised the need for modernisation and mechanisation of the farming and said necessary measures would be taken in that direction. He said Rs 500 crore would be spent on improving the fertility of soil and address the micro-nutrient deficit. Assuring to provide quality seeds to farmers, he said that by setting up agro processing units, farmers’ income levels would go up and, at the same time, make the state drought-free.
Agriculture minister P Pulla Rao, Loan Waiver Committee chairman Kotaiah and others were present.