Telangana government is all set to undertake a massive survey, district-wise, to understand the cropping pattern in order to regulate cultivation as part of the state's farm regulation policy. Officials from the state’s agriculture department will soon start collecting data on harvesters, tractors, cultivators, plantation machines and other agriculture related devices and farmers on a district and village level.
The latest development comes after chief minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR) earlier this month announced that he will bring in a policy on farm regulation, since farmers sowing the same few crops, which resulted in an imbalance in prices of farm produce, and also in shortages of certain products. A day earlier, the chief minister also asked officials to prepare district-wise agriculture cards for data at a meeting.
A senior official from the agriculture department said that about 80% of the crops sowed in Telangana are paddy and cotton, due to market demands, and that the new policy is likely to price crashes or sudden increases due to either supply or demand issues. “This is a good thing," the official, who did not want to be quoted, said.
The state government will also set up soil testing labs in every district and will give vehicle allowances every month to agriculture officers working in all clusters across the state. While there has not been any major negative response so far from farmer groups, some have questioned the rationale behind KCR stating that farmers who do not adhere to the new policy will lose their benefits the state government is providing.
KCR had earlier said that farmers who do not take up farming of crops based on suggestions from government officials will lose out on getting minimum support price (MSP) and also will be excluded from the Rythu Bandhu scheme, the state’s flagship programme under which all land-owning farmers receive ₹5,000 in both the Rabi and Kharif seasons to bear agricultural costs.
The new policy is expected to come into force from the coming monsoon, by when the state’s agriculture department will compile data on which crops are cultivated in which areas and the extent of each crop. The state government will also create awareness among farmer about regulatory farming methods in over 2000 clusters as part of this new policy change.
“There is a need to regulate farming, because many farmers are blindly going by market demands instead of actually sowing pulses and other things that can yield better prices for them too. But making them do it at the cost of tea losing benefits is not the right way. We have to see as and when there is more clarity, as to how this policy plays out," said a representative from a farmers’ collective from Telangana, who did not want to be quoted.