HYDERABAD: After red gram and paddy farmers from Vikarabad expressed their concern about crop damage due to pest attack and other reasons to the Kisan Mitra helpline in Hyderabad, former Vikarabad collector D Divya (transfered to Adilabad district on Saturday) took positive steps immediately by appointing a team of scientists to look into the farmers’ issues.
The plight of the farmers, who approached the helpline, was reported in an article published in one of these columns on December 8 with the heading, ‘Kisan Mitra helpline flooded with calls from Telangana’s Vikarabad farmers’.
Ever since the beginning of December, the helpline volunteers received as many as 300 calls from red gram and paddy cultivators of Vikarabad complaining that most of their crops have been damaged and they are in urgent need of help.
As per the helpline volunteers, lack of rainfall in Vikarabad had marginally affected the yield of crops like red gram, maize and paddy. But over the last two months, there prevailed a crisis situation for the cultivators of paddy and red gram.
The paddy crops were damaged in abundance because of a pest called brown plant hopper (BPH) and red gram crops because of a fungus called Fusarium Wilt in its root, which kills the entire crop.
After the issue was brought to light, collector Divya called a meeting with the helpline volunteers, officials of agricultural commissionerate and a team of agricultural scientists from Telangana.
“I found out from the persons concerned that the situation of farmers is in crisis and appointed a team of agricultural scientists to reach out to the farmers immediately,” Divya told Express.
Sree Harsha, coordinator with Kisan Mitra said, “Scientists like Sudhakar and Rajashekhar who have been associated with helpline reached out to the farmers on December 11, only a day after the meeting with the collector.”
“Since most of the crops have been damaged, the farmers have been instructed to sow better yield seeds like Asha and Hanuman so that in the next season, they do not suffer losses. These seeds are resistant to the fungus,” he said. Moreover, according to Divya, the paddy farmers whose crops have been damaged to such an extent that it can’t be regulated but they have been directed by the scientists on what farming techniques they could use next time to prevent the damage.
“Paddy farmers are being provided aid under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojana and the banks concerned have been given nearly 10,000 application forms of the insurance scheme to provide insurance to farmers under the scheme so far,” she said.