Areca farmers get ` 8.72 as compensation per tree

Cost of production per tree is ` 140 - ` 150 per tree, according to CPCRI scientists; Growers flay meagre amount as compensation.

The State government’s decision to offer compensation package of Rs 12,000 per hectare for the arecanut farmers who encountered crop loss owing to the rot decease, has come under severe criticism from the farming fraternity. The arecanut farmers are highly dissatisfied with government assurance of meager amount.

One hectare is equivalent to 2.5 acres. An arecanut farmer can plant an average of 550 to 600 arecanut trees in one acre of land. The government compensation package of Rs 12000 per hectare will provide Rs 4,800 per acre of arecanut farming land. A farmer can get barley Rs 8.72 per tree as compensation package, if he has planted 550 arecanut trees. Usually the farmers in this region go for 550 trees in one acre.

The arecanut farmer who cultivates the commercial crop in around four acres of land, Satyanarayan Udupa (he is also the general secretary for Udupi district Kissan Sangh) told Deccan Herald that the government compensation package is negligible and a mere eye wash. He said that the farmers who spray the Bodox mixture thrice in the monsoon season should bear the expenses of nearly Rs 6 at a time for a tree.

The total expense of the spraying medicine itself is Rs 18 per tree including labor charges. It is ridiculous that government has come forward to offer Rs 8.72 per tree. There are also some modern medicines, which will be more costly. “We cannot recover the spray cost too,” he added.

The yield per tree is around 4.5 to 5 kilograms and the approximate yield per acre of cultivation is around 20 to 25 quintal of dry arecanuts which is called “Chali”. According to the scientific evaluation made by CPCRI, Vittla, a research center for horticultural growths, the cost of production is around Rs 140-150 per arecanut tree.

The expense for one kilogram of the dry arecanuts is approximate Rs 35 to 40. Hence, the cost of production for 20 to 25 quintal of dry arecanuts will be around Rs 80,000 per acre.
` 80,000 production cost

Udupa says, “the cost of production sometimes exceeds Rs 80,000”. He adds that government will offer Rs 4,800 per acre only if there is cent per cent cop loss. Besides, the farmer should provide RTC, certification by village accountant and photocopies as evidences for damages. The decrease in the percentage of crop loss will also result in decrease in amount of compnesation. He says the commercial crop will bring in a net income of more than Rs 2 lakh per acre.

He says that government should give cost of production as the compensation package, if not at least the matching grant to the farmers who suffered loss. The compensation package may recover sheer 10 per cent loss and it is as if alms thrown at farmers.

He adds that the amount provided by the government is not enough for processing the application. The revenue officials will certify for huge proper amount of loss, only if they are bribed. He questions whether a poor farmer will be able to bear all these expenses.

As many as 3,850 applications have been submitted by the arecanut farmers till date and majority of them are not coming forward to avail the compensation package following the meager amount. The number of the farmers who suffered the loss is two times the number of applications that are submitted.

He says that the farmers are made to run from pillar to post from VA office to Tahsildar to Horticulture department, wherein the officials are passing on the responsibilities to each other.

Most of the applications are already submitted some two and half months ago. However, the officials did not show the courtesy of spot inspection till date.

The survey is also not done, he alleged and sought to know, how they would evaluate the loss as majority of seeds are already decomposed which cannot be evidences after this long period. Spot inspection should be done within 15 days, he added.

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