No farmer ended life in millet land Medak

Contrasting fortunes: One section of Maharashtra's tillers revels, one despairs
Last Updated 14 September 2015, 19:18 IST

Millet growing villages in four mandals of Zaheerabad of Medak district have reported no farmer suicide even as the district accounted for 30 deaths every month and the state of Telangana recorded 1,400 suicides by farmers in distress.

Medak district, which reported 145 deaths this year, so far reflects the hopelessness in agriculture sector.  It is indeed amazing to see how the situation in four mandals in Zaheerabad differs from other parts of the Telangana state.

Farmers in the four mandals of Zaheerabad are safe because their farming practices are not dependent on water, electricity and chemical fertilisers.

They have been engaged in growing traditional crops with traditional methods, which have saved them from steep production costs. Farmers in the four mandals express a high level of confidence and motivation that are an inspiration to other farmers.

Mirdoddi Vinoda in Nagwar village, Raikode Mandal, grows 18 varieties of crops worth Rs 2 lakh in her three acre land despite the unfavourable climate conditions.

Adjacent to her field is Tenugu Yadaiah, who grows BT cotton with an investment of Rs 50,000 and earns Rs 80000. He buys seed, manure and pesticides from the external market adding to his borrowed knowledge of farming. His farm fails to fetch him food, fodder for his cattle.

In contrast, Vinoda could earn food (Jowar, Korra, pulses, oil seeds) sufficient for her whole family for an entire year making her completely self sufficient. These stories of Vinoda and Yadaiah reflect the current situation of Telangana farmers as a whole. If one story talks about self confidence and hope, the other story talks about the hopelessness, dependency and desperation.

“In order to make Telangana a people-friendly state, the government should encourage farmers to grow millets and recognise them as natural assets of this region rather than neglecting these climate resilient crops,” says P V Satheesh, Director, Deccan Development Society (DDS) that has been helping women farmers to become self sufficient by growing millet crops through a “sangham” a joint effort.

The DDS demands that the government should declare Telangana a millet state. In view of the acute water crisis staring at Indian agriculture, the government should declare water bonus for millet farmers who use no irrigated water at all to grow their crops.

“Such an approach can save up to Rs 50,000 crore which can be used for welfare of farmers and other development activities in agriculture sector,” Satheesh said. This traditional method of agriculture becomes a help worth thousands of crores to the farmer families.

(Published 14 September 2015, 19:18 IST)

Follow us on