KOTTAYAM: : When Sony Koithara, a farmer from Thiruvarpp panchayat in Upper Kuttanad region of Kottayam district sowed seeds on his 10acre paddy field at Thiruvaykkarai on November 10, the banks across the country had just reopened after the demonetisation of Rs 500/Rs 1,000 notes.
Since he had made preparations for the Puncha cultivation prior to the Centre’s decision to discontinue the high value denomination notes, it didn’t affect him initially stage.But he started feeling the heat within two weeks, when pesticides had to be used.
“Rs 16,000 was needed for pesticides and the labour charges came to around Rs 6,000. The use of fertilisers required another Rs 25,000. The unavailability of cash and loans have made it virtually impossible to meet the additional costs, on account of replanting the seedlings and other daily farm work,” Sony said.
Sony, who is also the secretary of Thiruvaykkari paddy farmers committee, pointed out that things were a tad more difficult for farmers solely dependent on paddy cultivation.
K O Aniyachan, secretary of the J-Block 9000 paddy fields in Thiruvarpp, said as many as 600 farmers here were finding it increasingly difficult to pay the daily wages of the labourers. The situation is similar in the paddy-rich Upper Kuttanad panchayats, which include Kumarakom, Arppookara, Aymanam, Vechoor and Thalayalam.
Sony said the crisis in the cooperative bank sector had also affected the farmers as primary cooperative banks and societies like Kanjiram, Thiruvarpp and Chengalam service cooperative Societies, could not provide agriloans or fertilisers to farmers.
“At the same time, none of the nationalised or scheduled banks could provide Rs 24,000 to the farmers,” he said.