Hyderabad: Telangana State and Andhra Pradesh have recorded the highest number of farmer suicides in the country due to the faulty mechanism. The government’s credit for agriculture is not reaching small farmers and high indebtedness is prevailing, says a recent study on “Farm Structure Reform” conducted by the industry-body ASSOCHAM.
Releasing the ASSOCHAM study, ASSOCHAM Secretary General D S Rawat said, “It is finding an ‘alarming picture on the farm front with over two thirds of landowners having less than one hectare of farmland and the government credit not reaching them. As a result, indebtedness is increasing among the farmers.”
Most prominently ASSOCHAM brought out the “huge vulnerability of farming households in Andhra Pradesh to indebtedness” as compared to other states and found it linked to their largely uneconomic landholdings. Andhra Pradesh and Telengana State had the highest rate of farmers’ suicides within the country for some decades. Besides, this vulnerability was equally seen among urban people holding small farm plots. The study released on Friday stressed the need on the part of farmers to form into cooperatives or embark on corporate style farming to tide over crisis.
The study based on data of the NSSO 70th round of survey and the chamber’s own half a dozen studies on various aspects of the rural scene earlier found that out of around nine crore households, over 23 lakh households were holding onto a tiny 0.01 hectare or less of landholdings, 2.87 crores to 0.01 to 0.4 hectare of plots and 3.14 crores to 0.41 to 1.0 hectare extent of mostly farming land plots.
Even out of those with the tiny plots of 0.01 ha or less, 16 per cent depended on cultivation as the principal source of livelihood. One hectare or less farm plots “cannot be cultivated economically,” the chamber pointed out. Comparing the agriculture land as proportion of the total land and the level of prosperity, the study revealed that “only four states namely Gujarat, Kerala, Punjab and Haryana in that ascending order have average asset value far higher than the national average of that value. Kerala with 27.3 per cent of land used for agriculture was ahead of all other states with many of them over 60 per cent of their land in agriculture, pointed out the recent study.”