"The average debt of the farmers was Rs 4,27,000 each," the report said

341 Andhra farmers killed themselves in last six months says fact finding reportFile photo: PTI
news Wednesday, April 20, 2016 - 08:04

At least 341 farmers have killed themselves in Andhra Pradesh in the past six months as the agrarian crisis has deepened in the state, a fact finding report revealed.

Rythu Swarajya Vedika (RSV), an NGO working chiefly in the Telugu states of Telangana and Andhra, organized fact-finding visits to 40 farmer suicide families in 7 districts - Kurnool, Anantapur, Guntur, East Godavari, Prakasam, Kadapa, Chittoor.

The report based on the visits sought to asses the chief reasons for the farmers killing themselves and also offered suggestions. The report has been submitted to the Hyderabad High Court, which is presently hearing a case on the issue.

"In 39 out of 40 cases, the farmers had faced heavy crop loss due to drought, cyclone or flood, but due to failure of government to provide effective crop insurance or disaster compensation, they went into debt and despair. 30 out of 40 farmers were cultivating rainfed lands, either dependent on failing borewells or completely lacking irrigation," the report states.

With respect to debt that the farmers faced, the report found that:

Only 13% of the farmers were eligible for bank loans. 87% of the loan were from private lenders at high rate of interest (24% to 60%). 19 out of 40 farmers were completely dependent on private moneylenders while 22 out of 40 farmers were tenant farmers. Not one of them received Loan Eligibility Cards. 

"Their average debt was Rs 4,27,000 each," the report said.

Demanding that the government take urgent action to prevent farmer suicides, the NGO added that "the government should launch comprehensive effort to mitigate the effects of drought and sustain rainfed agriculture along with animal husbandry and allied occupations."

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