Hard times for cotton farmers

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October 25, 2015 The delay in implementing the crop loan waiver scheme in tune with the assurance by the State government last kharif has cost cotton farmers dearly across the cotton growing districts of Adilabad, Karimnagar, Khammam, Nalgonda, Mahabubnagar and Warangal.

In Adilabad alone, over 50,000 farmers lost over an estimated Rs. 40 crore by way of insurance claims for crop damage during the kharif in 2014.

The scale and intensity of the loss has become evident only now when the Agriculture Insurance Company of India Ltd. (AICIL) has released its list of Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (WBCIS) payouts for kharif-2014 cotton crop in unirrigated lands, which was damaged owing to natural calamities.

Only 1,773 farmers who were able to remit the insurance premium before the cut off date of July 5 last year got their claims worth Rs. 64 lakh settled.

Others who waited for the government to remit the first instalment of the waiver could not get that benefit as the government failed to do it in time. The subsequent move to notify insurance of unirrigated cotton under the National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (NAIS) instead of the WBCIS (vide GO RT No. 84 of August 25, 2014) was of no help either as the scale of damage failed to satisfy the NAIS parameters designed to assess crop damage.

In the WBCIS, damage to crops is assessed soon after the end of monsoon and insurance protection is provided against losses in crop yield resulting from adverse weather incidences. The NAIS, on the other hand, has the crop loss calculation based on Crop Cutting Experiments spread over almost the entire duration of the crop which ranges between November and March.

The latter is not suited to the demands of farmers of rain fed cotton in Adilabad as it deduces the loss as against the average yields of the last five years. The yield of the current year may not differ greatly with the average yield of the previous years so as to qualify for insurance claims.

According to the AICIL figures, the highest insurance claim of Rs. 21,000 per hectare was paid to farmers in a few mandals of Karimnagar, Khammam, Mahabubnagar etc. In Adilabad, the farmers of Jainad mandal received Rs. 18,000 per hectare.

In 2011, 48,392 farmers got their claims worth Rs. 10.56 crore settled and the following year, 80,341 farmers received insurance payouts worth Rs. 29.99 crore while in 2013, 41,229 farmers were paid Rs. 10.66 crore towards insurance claims.

In Adilabad alone, over 50,000 farmers have lost over an estimated Rs. 40 crore by way of insurance claims for crop damage during kharif in 2014

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