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Written by: Staff
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Mumbai, Apr 13 (UNI) A weak extension mechanism of the State Governments is one of the main sources of frustrations among the small and marginal farmers that sometimes lead them committing suicides in the states like Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

According to top officials from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), there are five major factors leading to farmers suicide which include failure of rain and crop which are weather induced and the other factors are timely credit disbursal and evolvement of price mechanisn by Institutions.

All these problems are mainly due to the absence of various extension services provided by the State authorities, they said.

The weak state finances weakened the extension services and this need to be strengthened in cooperation with the farmers clubs and self help groups (SHGs) linking them with the Micro Credit Institutions (MCIs), said NABARD Chairman YSP Thorat.

The continuation of drought since 2001-02 to 2003-04, leading to lowering of water tables, paucity of alternative irrigation facility and failure of crops were identified as an important factor triggering the suicidal tendencies amongst the farmers mainly in the cash crop regions in the country, Mr Thorat said quoting a study undertaken by Tata Institute of Social Science(TISS) and Indira Gandhi Institute of Development and Research (IGIDR).

The concept of green revolution is no more effective with decaying fertility of cultivated lands. A major remedy or relief to the current distress situation for farmers could be introduction of crop insurance scheme through extension machinery of the states, the study said.

The study report of TISS clearly brought out that the Government extension machinery was not visible in providing information while the extension services provided by the private traders selling inputs to the farmers, led to a supply induced demand.

However, the inputs supplied by the private dealers were not certified, often leading to spurious and poor quality inputs especially seeds and pesticides in the case of cotton, it said.

In fact, the Vidharbha region of Maharashtra lacks irrigation facilities and irrigation backlog to the tune of Rs 3045 crore as against the total backlog of Rs 4330 crore for the State. The state government must use the funds available under the Rural Infrastructure Development Funds (RIDF) to step up the level of irrigation infrastructure in the region, prune to periodic suicidial cases of farmers.

Interestingly, the study finds that most of the suicide cases were reported from the cash crop regions of the country where the farm households fully dependent on mono crops or single enterprise, failed to withstand or absorb income shocks in the event of crops.

The study reports covered 147 cases of suicides in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

UNI GC ADG VKG1630

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