The Nivar cyclone last week caused extensive damage to crops in over 6.59 lakh hectares in different districts of Andhra Pradesh, state Agriculture Minister K Kanna Babu said on Monday. Initiating a short discussion on agriculture in the Legislative Assembly on the first day of the five-day winter session, he said complete enumeration of the crop losses would be completed by December 15 and input subsidy distributed to affected farmers by December 31.
"The Chief Minister conducted a review meeting this morning and directed the authorities to procure even discoloured and sprouted paddy and rescue the farmers. The Agriculture Department and allied departments are working on that," Kanna Babu said.
"There have been bountiful rains this season because of which all reservoirs in the state are filled to the brim. Even drought-prone districts like Anantapuramu and Chittoor received heavy rainfall.
Unfortunately, there have been floods and cyclones that caused heavy loss to the agriculture sector," Kanna Babu said. He said the state government distributed Rs 306.9 crore as input subsidy to 4.20 lakh farmers who suffered crop damages due to natural calamities since May 2019.
Similarly, 1.16 lakh horticulture farmers were paid Rs 102.24 crore as input subsidy. The Minister said the state government paid Rs 1,030 crore in 2019-20 towards crop insurance.
"We are going to set up AP State General Insurance Company, which will cover crop insurance to farmers who registered under e-Crop," he added. Claiming that their governments top priority was farmers' welfare, the Agriculture Minister listed out various measures initiated in the last one and a half years.
A sum of Rs 11,981 crore was credited into farmers' accounts under the PM Kisan-YSR Rythu Bharosa scheme. Another Rs 4,607 crore was spent through the Market Intervention Fund for procurement of various agricultural produce so as to ensure remunerative prices for the farmers.
"The AP government has become the third largest buyer after it procured 12.93 million kgs of tobacco at a cost of Rs 120 crore this year. Likewise, the government has agreed to bear the transportation cost, from field to ginning mills, on cotton since the Cotton Corporation of India has a restrictive purchase policy," Kanna Babu said.
"Through micro planning, we are doing many things like building necessary infrastructure not only for procurement but also marketing the farm produce. We are setting up Janata Bazars, bulk milk chilling centres, cold storages, multipurpose facility centres at a cost of Rs 10,000 crore in over 9,900 villages across the state.
This will expand marketing opportunities for farmers," the Minister said.