VIJAYAWADA:Unless a government is really committed to making agriculture remunerative for farmers, the crisis that has gripped the farm sector would continue, economist and professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi), Jayati Ghosh has felt.
Addressing a seminar on ‘Farmers’ Suicides and Solutions’ organised by AP Rythu Sangham here Tuesday, Ghosh observed that helping a farmer’s family, when a tragedy befalls in the form of suicide of the breadwinner, would not help solve the problem at macro level, though the practice to help such families financially should continue.
She suggested that there should be a sincere effort to remove the problems in various sectors in agriculture. “This can be done by a government, which has commitment for the welfare of farmers and the growth of agriculture,” she said and pointed out that for this to happen, the government should allocate funds liberally for addressing the problems.
Recalling the contents of the report that she, as head of state-level agriculture commission constituted by the then chief minister late YS Rajasekahra Reddy in 2004, had submitted to the government, Ghosh said that she had toured 23 districts of the then united AP and suggested more than 130 solutions to end the agrarian crisis.
“The agriculture researchers, too, should focus more on finding a solution to the problem in agriculture by taking into consideration factors exclusive to India rather than depending on knowledge from abroad. This apart, the farmers should have access to modern trends in agriculture that would reduce investment and improve returns. If suicides are taking place, it is because of the losses that the farmers are incurring. The difference between investment and returns is driving a farmer to end his life,” she explained.
In Andhra Pradesh, farmers are using pesticides six times more than normal, which is leading to crops becoming poisonous. As there are no takers for his produce, the farmers are incurring heavy losses driving him to commit suicide, she pointed out.
Ghosh suggested that it is necessary that irrigation facility is created to fields on a priority basis whether it is through canals, or small projects or tanks or even wells. As regards seeds, it is essential that the government should take the responsibility of supplying them after producing them from seed companies. As the companies are directly selling the seeds to farmers, more often than not, farmers are being taken for a ride, she said.
It is equally important to post agriculture officers in villages to advise farmers on what crops they should go in for when monsoon fails. It is unfortunate that there is one agriculture officer for about 30 villages and it is anybody’s knowledge as to what extent he would be able to interact with farmers and help them, she underlined.
Another important measure that the government should take is that the farmers’ produce should be procured by agriculture market committees by paying him a good price. If this is done, the middleman problem would be solved once and for all, she added.
Former vice-chancellor K Viyyyanna Rao and CPI sate assistant secretary Muppalla Nageswara Rao also spoke.