Andhra CM Naidu directs officials to ensure water supply for Kharif crops

Directs officials to explore ways to reduce the cost of cultivation, and underlines the need to promote zero-budget natural farming in a big way.
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.Photo | PTI

VIJAYAWADA : Taking stock of the supply of irrigation water and farm inputs for the ongoing Kharif season at a review meeting with top officials of the agriculture and water resources departments on Wednesday, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu directed them to ensure that there is no shortage of water for crops, and initiate measures to reduce the cost of cultivation by providing seeds and fertilisers to small and marginal farmers at a subsidy.

The lackluster policies of the previous YSRC regime hit the growth of agriculture sector, besides imposing a heavy financial burden on farmers. “Now, farmers with more debt in the country are those from Andhra Pradesh. It is our bounden duty to address all the problems of farmers,” the Chief Minister said.

Recalling how the previous TDP government ensured the conduct of soil tests regularly and encouraged drip irrigation in the drought-prone Rayalaseema, the Chief Minister said the YSRC regime discontinued all such good farm practices.

Expressing dismay at the neglect of irrigation sector, Naidu said maintenance of the projects was totally stopped and sluice gates were not even greased during the previous YSRC regime.

“All these things need to be changed, and best farm practices should be implemented. The zero-budget natural farming, which was discontinued by the YSRC regime, should be encouraged in a big way,” he stressed.

The officials were asked to explore the use of drones to spray pesticides, besides taking up desiltation of canals and drains. The old crop insurance scheme should also be reintroduced. “The Godavari water going waste into the sea should be effectively used for the Krishna delta,” he said.

The Chief Minister revealed that the growth rate in aquaculture decreased to 13% from 29% during the YSRC regime. Similarly, the growth rate in agriculture also declined from 17%. The officials should give top priority to agriculture and aquaculture and encourage farmers to opt for modern methods of cultivation to reap better crop yield, he said.

The officials informed the Chief Minister that irrigation water to the Godavari delta was released on June 1, and water from Pattiseema, Pushkar, Thatipudi and Purushothapatnam schemes was released on Wednesday. As water is not available in the Pulichintala project, Godavari water will be supplied to the Krishna delta through Pattiseema.

The rainfall is above normal in all mandals of the State, except for 45. The State has received more than 50% above normal rainfall. Out of the total 4,14,490 acres, cultivation of crops has been taken up in 3,04,604 acres in Kharif, the officials informed.

Minister for Agriculture K Atchannaidu and other officials attended the review meeting.

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