Paddy farmers earn less than a farm labourer\'s monthly wages

Though the state has been paying the MSP that has been announced by the Union government, paddy farmers in Telangana remain unhappy

KHAMMAM: Farmers cultivating paddy in Khammam district are in distress for more reasons than one.

There is little scope to make paddy a profitable option in the country’s ‘rice bowl’. The returns are demotivating considering that a tenant farmer’s income through paddy cultivation per acre is less than what a farm labourer earns in a month. Paddy cultivation has become a curse for small and marginal farmers because of increasing input and overhead costs and exploitation by market forces.

Though the state government has been paying the minimum support price (MPS) that has been announced by the Union government, paddy farmers in Telangana remain unhappy.

Bairam Prasada Rao, a tenant farmer in Anasagaram in Nelakondapalli mandal, is a classic case in point.

“I had one acre of land and I used to take another four acres on lease. We get good water from Mangapuram Minor of NSP Left canal and the increasing costs of paddy cultivation are demoralising. The earnings after slogging for eight months are less than Rs 6,000. It is better to work as a farm labourer than go in for paddy cultivation”, he said.

E Venkateswarlu, a farmer from Rapalle in Bonakal mandal, said that he planned to raise maize or black gram from next year. He said that the increase of diesel costs has also impacted paddy cultivation.

Lack of sufficient warehousing godowns adds to the problems and millers pay MSP only after the produce is delivered at the mills. There is also a risk in protecting the produce on thrashing floors from rains for three to four days at a stretch.

Tharam, a practice of deduction of paddy from each bag of 75 kilo causes a heavy loss. Initially, two kilos per bag used to be collected as tharam by millers. It is now five to seven kilos per bag. With this, the farmer is losing Rs 3,400 per acre.

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