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Power crunch to make Andhra Pradesh lose rice bowl status

DECCAN CHRONICLE | amrita didyala

Published on: April 3, 2014 | Updated on: Invalid date

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Hyderabad: The less than required power supply to the agricultural sector, which has been continuing since the last few years, will lead the state to a food crisis, say farmers’ associations, warning that AP may lose its "rice bowl" status in three to four years.

Farmers indicate a change in farming pattern from high water consuming paddy to other crops, mostly vegetables. If the declining interest in farming continues for a few more years, the state will see increased dependence on imports even for its trademark crops, warn farming associations.

In fact, a major portion of the shift is being seen in Telangana districts, which are more dependent on ground water. Meanwhile, scientists and researchers indicate a shift to other crops in some areas but believe that high yielding varieties won’t allow a serious dent in production.

Also, the issue of subsidy for fertilisers being removed has increased the cost of production of paddy crops, says the farming community.

"The current trend of not encouraging farmers will turn out to be very dangerous. If the trend continues, rice production will come down drastically in the next two to three years. Farmers are already getting out of rice cultivation. Even now, there is the dying out of small farmers as the cultivation has come to a break-even point.

Due to the shortage of power supply resulting in inadequate water supply, many are going for maize or crops like green pulses and vegetables," said M. Shashi Rao, member of the Federation of Farmers Associations.