Telangana government urged to declare state as ‘Millet’ state to prevent suicides by farmers

By Ch Sushil RaoonSep. 20, 2015in Perspectives

HYDERABAD: With the situation being grim for farmers in Telagnana, the Deccan Development Society (DDS) has urged the state government to declare Telangana as a Millet state. 

“Farmer’s suicides in Telangana have reached 1400. This accounts to 30 deaths in every month and one every day. Medak district, which had known no farmers suicides reported 145 deaths this year. This is leading to a state of hopelessness in the agriculture sector,” DDS director P V Satheesh said. 

Foxtail millet (called Ragi or Nachani)
Foxtail millet (called Ragi or Nachani) photo Deccan Development Society

In order to make Telangana a people friendly State, Government should encourage farmers growing Millets and recognize them as natural assets of this region rather than neglecting these climate resilient crops, he said. Satheesh said making the traditional knowledge of these farms as the foundation, ‘Bangaru Telangana’ can be achieved. 

“It is high time Telangana was declared a Millet State. In view of the acute water crisis that stares Indian agriculture in the face Government should declare water bonus for millet farmers who use no irrigated water at all to grow their crops. Issues of searching for piecemeal solution for food and fodder security it should be dealt with a comprehensive approach that is possible with millet cultivation rather than finding discrete solutions,” he said. 

According to DDS which works with the farming community, there have been no suicides in four mandals of Zaheerabad in Medak district despite the farming practices of farmers being completely independent on water, electricity and chemical fertilizers. The farmers in this region have been engaged in growing traditional crops with traditional methods (ecological and bio diverse farming). 

For example, Meedoddi Vinoda in Nagwar village, Raikode Mandal grows 18 variety of crops worth Rs two lakh in her three acre of land despite unfavorable climate conditions using her own seeds and manure. Adjacent to her field is where Tenugu Yadaiah in his farm grows BT cotton as a mono crop with an investment of Rs. 50,000/- and earns Rs. 80,000/-. 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, a pulse or an oil seed making him completely dependent on an external sources for all of these. 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. 

P V Satheesh said such traditional method of agriculture would benefit farmers.

First published by Times of India

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