Hopes of soya farmers go for a toss

Hopes of soya farmers go for a toss
Highlights

Claims and promises were high. Media statements and public announcements were loud and clear - the State government was planning to transform Telangana into the ‘Seed Bowl of India’.

Boath: Claims and promises were high. Media statements and public announcements were loud and clear - the State government was planning to transform Telangana into the ‘Seed Bowl of India’. And subsequently it kindled the hopes of millions of farmers across the State who were devastated due to huge crop loss resulted by unfavourable weather conditions who expected to take up seed farming. But things did not seem to fall in place and apparently, the hopes of these farmers were shattered.

Farmers who dreamt of selling their soya seed at 30 per cent higher rate are in for a rude shock as they have been forced to destroy the seed by dumping it as it is found by traders of poor quality. They are now facing a dilemma unable to decide whether to sell it or destroy it. As a result, the basic seed generated by them, as part of the government’s efforts to have a bank of seeds by the State-level organisation is also found to be of poor quality.

These seeds had been supplied to the farmers by the organisation at a higher price of Rs 500 a bag in an effort to increase the production. It already announced the decision, as part of an agreement, to buy back from farmers what they produced at 30 per cent higher rate, than that of prevailing in the market.

So, the farmers purchased the soya seed at a higher price than that of the subsidised variety with the hope of getting not only profit but believing that they would become part of the government resolve to strengthen the seed bank. Besides, they have been following the suggestions for a better output made by the organisation to save the crop.

However, the crop suffered damage following the recent heavy rain, bringing down the quality of the seed. Officials announced that they would buy back only if the quality percentage was more than 70. As many as 1,200 farmers had raised the main seed in about 3,600 acres. As their germination percentage has been found to be less, the organisation has refused to buy the seed. This is causing severe anxiety among the farmers during the last three months.

Unable to sell their seed, farmers across the district, particularly in Ichchoda mandal, like Gajanand of Jalda village, have been forced to stay away from celebrating festivals in the absence of the sale proceeds. They have been going round the soya purchase centres in the local market yard with the hope that their produce would be bought.

After they launched an agitation in frustration, the organisation has commenced discussions with the farmers, District Manager Srinivas told The Hans India. Later, scientists who examined the crops/seed have suggested to officials of the organisation to pay, as compensation, Rs 3,300 per acre, including the investment and labour costs.

However, since they failed to break up clearly the compensation amount, stipulated some conditions, stating that the crop of all farmers would be taken at a price of Rs 2,600 and that it should be sent to lab for assessing the quality. If the test is successful, it would be purchased at 30 per cent higher rate. If not, the amount would be withdrawn, with farmers taking back their produce.

On their part, the farmers are demanding payment of the recommended price of Rs 3,300. They have pointed out that the produce after being tested four times in lab has been found to have germination percentage of less than 70 per cent. They suspect that the organisation has no plans to make purchases. So, they want the government to ensure that they do not suffer losses.

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