HYDERABAD, JUNE 29:
Farmers by and large never sit idle, even when they are protesting. Thousands of farmers in East and West Godavari, Krishna districts, who have declared a crop holiday to an extent of two lakh acres this kharif, are not the ones to waste time. While making their protest heard in the State capital, farmers are seriously contemplating life beyond, not just this kharif, but also paddy.
“It is time to reduce dependence and pressure on paddy,” Mr Trinadha Rao, a farmer in the water-rich East Godavari district, told Business Line.
With paddy yielding no encouraging returns, farmers have begun to look at alternative crops that could give them bankable incomes.
As their peers continued the novel protest by locking up the water distribution channels, a small team of 30 farmers had just completed a trip to Pune. They went there to study new models of farming that threw open lucrative vegetable markets to farmers.
To begin with, the farmers could build a couple of green houses this year. “We will break the beaten track and grow capsicum this year,” Mr Trinadha Rao, who also heads the local Water Users’ Association, said.
The team went to Pune on an invitation from WALAMTARI (Water and Land Management Training and Research Institute). After seeing the greenhouse-based vegetable farming, the farmers from Andhra Pradesh are convinced that it is time to change.
“We will try to convince our friends back home on the importance of the change,” Mr Rao who was on his trip back home, commented.
Mr Tirupathaiah, Director-General of WALMTARI, said it was time for the farmers and the Government to change their mindset. “People think that irrigated agriculture means cultivation of paddy. It, in fact, is not. We need to explore alternatives. We should go for irrigated dry crops such as maize and ragi. These crops have huge demand,” he said.
“High value floriculture too could be an option. By building poly houses, we can control water, temperature and humidity,” he said.
TAMIL NADU TRIP
WALAMTARI is planning to take another team to Tamil Nadu that had built extensive area under precision farming in order to face low availability of water. “We will lead a team in mid July,” he said