‘Agriculture and allied sectors have registered 11% growth rate and there is significant drop in suicides’
The State government could double the farmers’ income in the last four-and-a-half years with persistent efforts, change in strategies and programmes.
Their income touched Rs. 2.52 lakh in 2017-18 from Rs. 1.28 lakh in 2014-15.
The agriculture and allied sectors registered an average growth of 11%. The growth rate stood at 17.76% in 2017-18 against 3.55% in 2014-15, according to Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.
The Chief Minister released a white paper on farmers welfare (agriculture and allied sectors) at the Grievance hall near his residence at Undavalli near here on Wednesday.
Apart from growth and development, the farmers’ suicides had come down significantly.
The government was poised to make Andhra Pradesh as ‘farmers suicides free State’. It was ensuring seed, power and water security for the farming community to that end.
The agriculture budget was increased to Rs. 19,070 crore in 2018-19 from Rs. 6,128 crore in 2013-14 despite stress on the State finances. Nearly Rs. 82,000 crore was spent on agriculture and allied sectors since 2014, he said.
‘Of claims and reality’
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been promising to double the farmers’ income. Andhra Pradesh has shown it. That’s difference between claims and reality.”
Despite deficit rainfall, the State could do well in agriculture and allied sectors due to change in the strategies. Aquaculture and horticulture were promoted in a big way. Andhra Pradesh stood first with regard to organic farming with 8% growth compared to an average 1% in the country. When the TDP assumed power, the districts such as Anantapur required de-desertification programmes and were at the bottom of the pyramid in agriculture. Now Anantapur stood first in the State with an income of Rs. 14,775 crore against the popular belief that Krishna, Guntur and Godavari districts fared well in the sector, he said.
Mr. Naidu said debt redemption scheme, soil health cards, farm mechanisation, zero budget natural farming, a drastic reduction in use of insecticides, pesticides, and fertilizers, government interventions in the purchase of farmers’ produce, mega seed park and input subsidy were some of the initiatives that helped the government in achieving its targets.
The CM said the government paid Rs. 15,147 crore to 58.29 lakh accounts, both agriculture and horticulture farmers, including 10% annual interest. It paid the entire loan if it were less than Rs. 50,000 as a one-time settlement.
For accounts more than Rs. 1.5 lakh, the government paid three instalments so far. Remaining would be cleared in a month. The outlay of debt redemption amount was Rs. 24,000 crore, he said. To a question, he said debt redemption, subsidies etc were not included in calculating the farmers’ income.
Agriculture Minister Somireddi Chandramohan Reddy and others were present.