Farmers threaten protest against delayin release of crop loss compensation

Farmers organisations have threatened to stage a protest in Belagavi on September 21, against the delay in the release of crop loss compensation, and also supply of low-quality seeds.

They have complained that soyabean seeds distributed by the Agriculture Department through the Raitha Samparka Kendras in various hoblis had failed to sprout in the desired manner. Kharif crop had been sown on over 95,000 hectares of land in the district. Of this, around 3,000 hectares were damaged as there was no proper sprouting.

“The Agriculture Department conducted a survey and submitted a report to the government three months ago, but the farmers are yet to get compensation,” said Sidagouda Modagi, Bharatiya Krishik Samaj president.

“A farmer in Belagavi district gets an average yield of around 35 quintals per hectare. As per prevailing rates, that would fetch between ₹ 75,000 and ₹ 90,000 per hectare. But thousands of farmers who had sown low-quality soyabean seeds stand to lose all that money. That is not acceptable. They should be compensated as per market rates,” he said.

He demanded that the government should give a compensation of at least ₹ 65,000 per hectare to farmers who lost their soyabean crop.

“We will sit in a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office if the compensation is not released by September 21,” he said.

He also sought an assurance from Agriculture Minister B.C. Patil that the department will not recommend low-quality seeds to farmers under the seed subsidy scheme.

Joint Director of Agriculture Shivanagouda Patil said that low-quality of seeds distributed in some taluks had come to the notice of the government and that a survey report had been sent to those concerned. “The seeds were not produced by the department. They were only sold to farmers under the subsidy scheme. The government would compensate those who suffered losses, as per the guidelines,” he said.

Belagavi is one of the biggest soyabean-growing districts in the country with the crop being taken up in about one lakh hectares of land on an average every year. After harvest, unsplit bean is sold to factories in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

The crop has a cycle where the price peaks every three years. The price has oscillated between ₹ 2,400 and ₹ 6,000 per quintal in the last nine years, officials say. The current prices are between ₹ 3,000 and ₹ 4,000 per quintal. The average yield in Belagavi is also among the highest in the State, with 30-40 quintals per hectare.

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