Bail out social forestry farmers: Vadde

Former State Agriculture Minister Vadde Sobhanadreeswara Rao on Monday urged the State government to go to the rescue of Prakasam farmers who have burnt their fingers after switching to social forestry from tobacco and other traditional commercial crops.

Joining the large number of farmers who are were up in arms against the paper mills driving down the prices with the latest trigger being the GST on paper-based stationery products, the noted farmers’ leader said: “It is unfortunate that the prices of logs have not been revised upward in the last four years. Even the prices fixed by the State government remain elusive for the farmers.”

Oligopoly

The State government should allow traders to enter the market as a couple of paper mills which enjoyed oligopoly were not allowing the market forces to operate freely, explained Mr. Rao, who staged a sit-in in front of the Collectorate here.

While the price of subabul has hit an all-time low of ₹2,600 per tonne, eucalyptus fetched a price between ₹1,800 and ₹2,200 per tonne, Prakasam District Development Forum president Ch. Ranga Rao said.

Even the revised agreement reached in Prakasam district at the behest of Environment Minister Sidda Raghava Rao in September 2016, to purchase eucalyptus at ₹4,200 per tonne and subabul at ₹4,000 per tonne has not been realised by farmers with the Agriculture Marketing Committee(AMC) remaining a mute spectator to the paper mills making purchases directly through their network of agents bypassing the AMCs, lamented All India Kisan Sabha national vice-president Ravulu Venkaiah.

GST effect

The agents of the paper mills rubbed salt into the wound of farmers by cutting ₹200 per quintal in the wake of the Centre imposing 12% GST on paper, added Acharya N.G. Ranga Kisan Samastha secretary Ch. Seshaiah.It was not just social forestry planters but also other sections of farmers who were not getting a fair price for their produce with the promised ₹5,000-crore market stabilisation…

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