BENGALURU: After drought and the Cauvery dispute, demonetisation has further aggravated distress among the farmers in the state. The government has declared 139 out of 176 taluks drought-hit.
Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha president Kodihalli Chandrashekhar said, “Cooperative banks are the most easily accessible banks in rural areas. Our organisation has one lakh farmers. We have requested the government to make these banks dispense cash to farmers. They have suffered huge losses. From fruits to vegetables, the cost of all produce has come down.”
On Thursday, the government announced that farmers with kisan credit cards will be allowed to withdraw up to Rs 25,000 per week against crop loans, subjected to limits. Farmers with Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) markets can draw Rs 50,000 per week. There are 157 APMCs in the state.
Kuruburu Shanthkumar, president of Karnataka State Sugarcane Growers Association, said, “Around 80,000 farmers are part of our organisation and 80 per cent do not have kisan credit cards. From cotton, paddy, banana to vegetables, sale of everything has come down.”
Badagalapura Nagendra, Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and Hasiru Sene district president, said, “The government has now allowed the purchase of seeds for rabi season with old notes. But we have already been hit. HD Kote in Mysuru, for instance, has only one Kaveri Grameena Bank and one SBI for so many villages. Where do we go? There are 6,000 farmers in our taluk. Sixty per cent of our crops — ragi and paddy — failed because of drought and now the ban on notes.”
Mahesh owns a godown in Saraswatipura of Mysuru where he packs vegetables for sale in malls. He has 12-13 farmers who supply him the produce. “Earlier, local tomatoes cost me Rs 12 to Rs 15, now it’s just Rs 2. I have given online payments or cheques to farmers to encash on a later date but three to four farmers have given their produce on credit,” he added.