Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Credit crunch hits farmers with sowing season looming-TIME OF INDIA

Credit crunch hits farmers with sowing season looming

NAGPUR: NamdeoGadhewar, a farmer from Pumpri village in Yavatmal'sKelapurtaluka, killed himself on Monday by consuming a pesticide. While he became this year's 268th victim to end his life, unable to bear rigours of the agrarian cycle, farm activists said his case was symptomatic of the trouble arising out of inability to get credit in time for the impending sowing season.

Gandhewar, 47, had reportedly taken a loan of Rs40,000 from Bank of Maharashtra last year. This year, under pressure from bankers to repay the loan, he cleared the dues. But the nationalized bank officials had not issued him fresh credit even as time was running out for the start of kharif operations.

"He was asked to wait till next month for fresh credit," said Kishore Tiwari, president of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, who keeps track of the agrarian crisis that has refused to die down in the last decade. This has led to the suicide of thousands of farmers unable to withstand intense stress and strain of dryland cotton farming.

"The Amravati divisional commissioner's appeal to nationalized bank officials to taken a proactive stance and expedite farm credit disbursal on priority seems to have fallen on deaf ears," said Tiwari. According to him, only 10% of the targeted Rs5,200 crore farm loan target has been disbursed among farmers in the region, with less than two weeks left for arrival of rains.

"To make matters worse, cooperative banks in the region are hamstrung. Major district cooperative banks in the region are led by government appointed administrators, as banks are in huge crisis and losses. In such a situation, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development ( NABARD) should intervene to bail out the farmers," said Tiwari. He also pointed out that even as crop season was nearing, there was no rush at farm input stores. "This is because farmers do not have cash to make even the necessary purchases," said Tiwari.

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