Maharashtra farmers voice expectations prior to budget

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Nagpur, Feb 20 (ANI): After having faced a tough-time due to insufficient crop yield last year, the debt-ridden cotton cultivators in Maharashtra are expecting some relief in the next annual budget.

The farmers in Vidarbha expect the Central Government to come up with schemes in the Budget that can provide them help to improve their crop yield.

"We expect that the government to reimburse to us the losses that we incur for our crops. Another concern that we have is that sufficient irrigation facilities are not available here and that is why our crops suffer a great deal. Despite being close to the main city of Nagpur, we have no water pipelines or other facilities. So, if the government can provide us with that, we will be satisfied." said Mukesh Dhomane, a farmer.

Over the past decade and half, Maharashtra has earned the dubious record of hundreds of farmers committing suicide due to their inability to repay loans availed from private moneylenders and even banks.

In the 2008-09 Budget, the government waived debts of small farmers with loans overdue on December 31, 2007 and which remained unpaid.

But this scheme had its strings attached and hence nearly a quarter of 40 million targeted farmers could not avail this scheme as most of them borrowed money from rapacious moneylenders or they owned larger tracts of land.

Now, the Vidarbha farmers seek government's support to overcome their hardships.Today's newspaper says that now prices of urea will increase. Now, if the prices of the fertilizers also increases then what we will do...This is becoming the root cause of increase in farmer suicide cases. The farmers are not able to repay back loans due to the prevalent market situation and are thus forced to take the extreme step of suicide.

Government is just concentrating on improving the industries and other sectors. But provisions are not enough for us poor." said Vilas Gaekwad, a cotton cultivator.

Farmers want that the middleman's role should diminish and they should be able to sell their produce directly so that they can have better margins

"In the coming Budget, the government should make provisions for direct purchase of good from us, farmers. We should get the profit directly," said Bhojraj Kukde, another farmer.

The government has decided to form a panel to recommend long-term measures to raise agricultural production and reduce the gap between the farm gate and the retail prices. (ANI)

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