HANAMKONDA: The ever-increasing fuel prices have severely impacted the agricultural sector in erstwhile Warangal district, while taking a toll on hundreds of farmers. Rubbing salt into the wounds of these farmers in distress, the owners of harvesters have hiked the rent for the machines by more than 60 percent.
This came at a time when paddy crop grown in thousands of acres in the erstwhile district was ready to be harvested. Since not many of them own harvesters, the ryots are left with no other option but to rent these machines by paying hefty amounts.
It may be mentioned here that the erstwhile Warangal district witnessed a bumper harvest this season as the government ensured the release of water from the J Chokka Rao Devadula Lift Irrigation Scheme too. Meanwhile, as per instructed by the higher-ups, the district administration is busy making arrangements to set up as many procurement centres as possible.
While the farmers were busy hunting harvesters, the owners, citing the steep rise in fuel prices, increased the rent for the machines to Rs 2,400 to Rs 2,800 from Rs 1,600 to Rs 1,800 that they collected last year.
When Express accessed the data on paddy cultivation available with the district agriculture officers of Hanamkonda and Warangal, it was found that the ryots have grown Telangana Sona paddy in almost two lakh acres during this Kharif season.Officials said that the demand for harvesters has increased significantly owing to the shortage of farm labourers.
Speaking to Express, Ponna Srinivas, a farmer belonging to Chilpur village in Jangaon district, said: “I cultivated paddy in almost eight acres this season. Due to the absence of labourers, we are left with no other option, but to rent harvesters for hefty prices. Since the government is unlikely to provide MSP for the crop, this season won’t be a profitable one for us.”