Farmers seek help to shift from areca to food crops

DC holds meeting with farmer leaders to discuss their problems

A farmer summing up the problems faced by the farmers with the Deputy Commissioner during a district-level meet at DC’s office in Mangalore on Thursday. DH PHOTORavikiran Punacha, one of the farmer leaders, summing up all the problems faced by the farmers in the district said that Government should contemplate on the lines of bringing in a pilot project to motivate and help farmers who are willing to shift from areca cultivation to food crops.

The issues that the farmers opted to speak in the meeting included loan waiver scheme, coercive loan recovery by banks, fixation of scientific price for arecanut, yellow leaf disease, rot disease and kumki land issues among others.
Punacha said that areca for several years has been the mainstay of the region. Though a farmer has to bear the production cost of Rs 138 per kilo of areca, the market price is going down year after year. The areca growers are unable to reap back even the production cost.

He said that even the loan waiver schemes have not benefited the farmers of the district for various reasons. When it comes to loan recovery, the farmer leaders said that the banks use iron handed attitude.

“The photograph of the defaulters are put up in public. This is a humiliation. If a farmer who has paid the loan amount faithfully, has been failing to repay the amount over the last 10 years, then it is the duty of government and local administration as well as the bank to conduct a study to know why the farmers are not able to pay the amount.

Unfortunately, such an effort has not been done so far. Hence, the increasing number of farmer suicide cases,” said the representatives, taking deep objection to the method of loan recovery of the banks. Moratorium on loan recovery for crops hit by crisis was one of the suggestions that was made during the meet.

However, responding to this, the DC told the authorities concerned that as far as confiscation of property is concerned, a decision must be taken after looking into the individual cases.

With regard to fixation of scientific cost for areca, the DC said that help of CAMPCO can be sought. He asked both CAMPCO and Horticulture department to come to consensus after holding meeting with the farmers. A report on the same should be sent to the Government, he said and added that he would convene a meeting with the Lead Bank, DCC Bank and with the co-operatives and take a decision with regard to confiscation.

Ban Endosulphan

Farmer leaders demanding ban on Endosulphan asked details on the compensation distributed to the victims so far, from the DC.

The DC said that 220 Endosulphan victims have been identified. Special pension has been given to people with 75 per cent disability. A day care centre for such persons has been opened at Kokkada.

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