2011 witnessed one of the worst drought situations. All most all crops dried up due to extreme drought condition. Paddy, Groundnut and Cotton crops are the worst sufferers. According one estimation farmers incurred around Rs.7,000 crores loss in this Khariff season. Situation is aggravated with regular power cuts.
Many farmers ploughed the crop or fed their cattle. Initial rains created hopes among the farming community and they sown huge areas but after one month i.e from mid July there are no rains. Farmers tried several ways like pumping water from tanks with diesel pump sets, hired generators to run electric bore wells, carried water in head loads, hired water tankers to irrigated their fields, but none of these efforts saved farmers and their crops.
Hikes in Fertiliser prices:
Fertilsier prices were hiked thrice in the Khariff season. Urea prices were hiked by almost three times and DAP prices were hiked by two times. This raise in prices leads to increase in costs. Further there is a huge gap between supply and demand. Many farmers depend on block market for fertilsiers.
Farmers in Konaseema region of East Godavari, parts of west Godavari and Khammam announced crop holiday. The main factors contributing to this includes increase in labour costs, low minimum support price particularly in case of Paddy, credit cards to tenants etc. Crop holiday resulted in loss of more than on lakh tones of Paddy. Govt commissioned a study headed by Shri.Mohan Kanda,IAS farmer chief secretary of Andhra Pradesh but the recommendations of committee are not accepted by many farmers.
Failure of minimum support price operations:
Lack of infrastructure facilities coupled with institutional inefficiencies is the main reasons for failure in providing minimum support price to farmers. Farmers able to get minimum support price where Women SHGs operated procurement centers.
Government announced prestigious tenancy act. The main objective of the act is to recognize tenant farmers as “Farmers” and to provide them institutional credit. East Godavari district administration is able to issue tenancy cards to farmers on a large scale but other districts are failed to issue cards to all tenant farmers. This act neither created confidence in the bankers nor in the tenant farmers.
Many farmers particularly cotton farmers committed suicides due to crop failure and debts. Cost of cultivation is increased tremendously due to increase in labour costs and fertilsier prices. Crops failed due extreme drought. Increase in costs, poor institutional credit and extreme drought are the main reasons for farmer’s suicides.
Overall the situation is pathetic. Farmers are in distress, they are looking for support from governments. Failure of institutions, failure of support systems, failure in monsoons created distress in the farming community.