Hyderabad: Farmers in Andhra Pradesh are battling a paddy crisis. While many farmers have resorted to distress sale of their bumper crop below the Minimum Support Price (MSP), others even threatened to go on a crop holiday, which means, they will not sow paddy this kharif season, work as NREGA labourers and abandon 5000 acres of fertile land.
"We are barely being able to sell our crop. What do we do producing more?" asked a distressed farmer.
"There is no MSP. Suicide is the only other option. We have nothing to invest," said another farmer.
Earlier, CNN-IBN had highlighted the state's paddy crisis, which prompted the government to appoint a team of 10 IAS officers to oversee paddy procurement. But farmer associations say it hasn't helped.
"When there is a market for international exports, I don't understand why the Government is hesitating to let the poor farmers benefit?" said Indian Consortium of Farmers Secretary Chengal Reddy.
The crisis has now taken a political colour.
"This is government's failure. They haven't done anything for the farmers - no MSP, no assurance," said TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu.
The Chief Minister, in damage control mode, has now launched a district wise "farmer summit" program to discuss key issues.
Agricultural experts say there is precious little that the state government can do since the need of the hour is a policy decision on exports, which lies in the hands of the Central Government. Farmers though, hope their desperate measure of a crop holiday will wake up the government to what is increasingly becoming their battle for survival.