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Tamil Nadu: Farmers list out demands for politicos ahead of election

Being one of the largest cultivators, over 4 lakh tonnes of paddy is produced in Ramanathapuram on an average every year.

Screenshot 2024 02 12 030456RAMANATHAPURAM: In spite of being one of the major cultivated lands of the state, the issues raised by farmers of Ramanathapuram continue to remain unaddressed by concerned authorities. Alleging that many of their long-standing demands, including a hike in MSP, establishment of rice hulling units in the district among others, are yet to be addressed, farmers have started listing their needs before political parties for prioritisation ahead of the upcoming election.

As politicos began meeting with various stakeholders in order to discuss much-needed developments, farmers of the district have come forward raising issues such as increasing MSP for paddy crops to above Rs 3,000, initiation of the Cauvery Vaigai Gundar linking project and others. Many have also expressed opposition against the hydro carbon scheme, which is to be implemented in the district.

Being one of the largest cultivators, over 4 lakh tonnes of paddy is produced in Ramanathapuram on an average every year. In a bid to aid paddy farmers, the government could opt to establish hulling centres or modern rice mills and separate accredited storage facilities for paddy storage here. Also, there is a need to set up a special processing and export centre for chilli, as the district accounts for a majority of the cultivation and export of GI tagged Mundu chilli and other varieties,” said MSK Bakiyanathan, president of Vaigai Irrigated Area Farmers Association.

He further added that the district has been facing a series of failed crop seasons due to unseasonal rainfall and droughts. “Considering the loss, the union government should consider waiving off the crop loans. Though such promises were made during the elections, no further action was taken and these issues await resolution for years now,” Bakiyanathan said.

Speaking to TNIE, M Gavasker, a farmer and organiser of the RS Mangalam and Thiruvadanai Farmers Association, stated that irrigation remains a major issue deciding the fate of agriculture activities in the district. “As most of the areas are rainfed, farmers have to rely on tanks and ponds, where rainwater gets stored, for meeting their irrigation needs. Also, over hundreds of such tanks have not been maintained properly for decades,” he said.

“In addressing irrigation woes, action could be taken towards allotting funds for periodical maintenance of tanks and canals. If the Cauvery Vaigai Gundar linking project is initiated, then it could significantly reduce the irrigation distress of the farmers here. In addition, new canals from Vaigai river could be constructed to link tanks located in various parts of the district, and new check dams could also be built in the river,” Gavasker added.

Meanwhile, several other farmers also pointed out the need to establish a government crop insurance firm in Ramanathapuram, as most of the private firms were not distributing insurance cover properly, in case of crop damages.

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