Mumbai : Drinking water is an over exploited source for cultivation of cash crops like sugarcane and BT Cotton, which has added fuel to the fire of the agrarian crisis in the state. Hence these crops need to be banned and replaced with food crops like oil seeds, pulses, maize and sorghum; this needs to be supported with state incentive and price protection, a state government task force on farm distress has recommended.
“Farm credit, crop pattern and cultivation practices are the core issues related to farm distress. We want the state government to address these issues in the coming Kharif session, for which purpose theses demands will be discussed at the meeting convened by Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis on Thursday,” Kishor Tiwari, president of the task force ‘Vansantrao Naik Sheti Swavalamban Mission,’ told FPJ here on Monday.
Tiwari said that the task force has urged the government to provide additional farm credit of Rs. 10,000 crore to four million debt-laden and distressed farmers from districts with the highest number of farm suicides.
Terming sugarcane and BT Cotton as ‘killer crops’, Tiwari said that the state government needs to impose stringent condition to curb cultivation of such rain sensitive cash crops.
“These are the crops that have created this man made drought,” he said, adding that the government needs to incentivise cultivation of Sorghum, Pulses, Oil seeds etc. along with introduction of sustainable non-chemical, eco-friendly and poison free cultivation practices,” he added.
“Of the 4 million distressed farmers from 14 districts of Vidarbha and Marathwada, only 35 per cent debt laden farmers are getting fresh crop loans according to current norms. An additional Rs. 10,000 crore farm credit would cover all the 4 million dry land farmers under institutional farm credit and then they would be automatically covered under the Prime Minister’s crop insurance scheme,” Tiwari added.
Stressing on various measures taken by the state government, he said that for the first time it is focusing on core issues like cultivation practices, use of fertilizer and pesticides etc. Schemes like soil health card and soil moisture management would play a key role in reducing the cultivation cost by almost 50 per cent.