Hyderabad: Telangana is heading for a major agrarian crisis in the next few months with a glut in paddy production in the ongoing Kharif season, according to official sources. Both the Centre and the state government decided to procure less than half of the expected 1.40 crore tonnes of paddy output from the ongoing season, a clear indication of the distress that farmers have to go through in the days to come.
Weeks after Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao took pride in turning Telangana into the rice bowl of the country during his Independence Day speech, a high-level meeting chaired by him here on Sunday dropped enough hints about the drastic cut in the procurement.
According to an official press release from the Chief Minister’s Office, the meeting opined that the farmers opting for paddy in the next rabi season would be “suicidal” as the Centre categorically announced its decision not to procure a single tonne of boiled rice.
Union minister for civil supplies Piyush Goyal made it clear to Telangana ministers K. T. Rama Rao and Gangula Kamalakar when they called on him in New Delhi a few days ago.
Statistics provided in the official note also indicated that farmers are all set to face distress sale post harvesting of the ongoing kharif crop. “Of the 92 lakhs tonnes procured by the Telangana government spending more than Rs 2000 crore, 70 lakh tonnes are still lying in either rice mills or civil supplies godowns,” said the CMO note. Maintaining that the government procured paddy in the last rabi in view of the difficult times being faced by farmers in the Covid pandemic, the high-level meeting opined that for this kharif, however, the government should restrict itself to procure only 60 lakh tonnes.
The release said farm produce had increased due to the Kaleshwaram irrigation project, financial assistance under Rythu Bandhu and uninterrupted power supply but due to lack of proper measures by the Centre like export and food processing promotion, there is a glut in production. Farmers should be discouraged from raising paddy and encouraged to switch over to cereals and vegetables, the release pointed out.