It is one of the marvels of human innovation but artificial intelligence (AI) offers tough competition for us. The days of speculating rain and sunshine may soon fade with artificial intelligence’s capability to predict right conditions with precision to an extent. It comprises one of the basic aspects of precision agriculture (PA) promoted even by the government to boost productivity and in turn, farmers’ income.
The Karnataka government on Tuesday submitted a memorandum to the central government seeking a relief assistance of Rs 2,064.30 crore to drought-hit farmers in the ongoing rabi season. The state revenue minister R V Deshpande called on Home Minister Rajnath Singh and apprised him about the severe drought prevailing in the southern state. State Agriculture Minister Shivashankar Reddy was also present in the meeting.
At Vattavada, the famed cool-season vegetable cultivating village, Pappiyamma seems visibly perturbed. Like most of her ilk here, this small-scale farmer has lost almost all the yield from the previous two harvesting seasons. The yield of the prime season in August, which coincides with Onam, is usually the one that compensates for any losses in the second and third harvesting seasons that fall around November and January respectively.
In 2016, the Narendra Modi government replaced existing crop insurance schemes with the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. The new scheme was advertised as incorporating the best features of earlier schemes while removing all their shortcomings. Unveiling the guidelines of the PMFBY, Modi attributed low enrolment in crop insurance to farmers’ “lack of faith” in previous schemes. A rapid increase in enrolment was to be the hallmark of the PMFBY. The target was to cover 50% of the cropped area, about 98 million hectares, by 2018-’19.
Will it be Telangana's 'Rythu Bandhu' or Odisha's 'Kalia' scheme which the Centre bets on in its much anticipated farm package ahead of general elections? Apart from these two schemes, the Centre is also looking at some proposals including area-based income compensation and waiving off premium for crop insurance and interest on loans for farmers who pay on time.
At the Salegaon cattle market in Beed, farmers say that usually there are about 1,000 cattle at this time of the year "But now there are 2,000, says Balasaheb Ingle, a major cattle trader from Kaij taluka. Oversupply has meant a crash in prices. While a pair of bullocks usually fetched Rs 60,000, now the price is Rs 20,000 and lower "I used to buy 15 cattle at each market. Now I am not even buying five," says Ingle, whose clients in larger markets have dried up.
All India Kisarn Congress vice-president Kodanda Reddy on Monday said private insurance companies will have no interest in rescuing farmers but Prime Minister's Fasal Bhima Yojana that aims at providing crop insurance to farmers has included private insurance companies in the scheme. Addressing the media, Kodanda Reddy expressed apprehensions that inclusion of private companies by the PM would actually hurt farmers as private companies will have no interest in rescuing farmers.
The sudden downpour has served a severe blow to chilli farmers who suffered indescribable loss as the crop got soaked in the rain and dashed their hopes of reaping rich benefit. The sudden rain on Saturday left many farmers across the district high and dry. Majority of the farmers, particularly at Parkal town, dried the harvested chilli crop on the ground and the unexpected rain damaged the whole of it within minutes.
Hyderabad and most parts of Telangana have been witnessing prolonged spell of rainfall and thunderstorm for the last many days. These moderate to heavy showers were also accompanied with hailstorm and strong winds. Although rains across the state brought relief from scorching heat and paddy farmers but these unseasonal activities along with hailstorm has resulted in extensive crop damage, particularly for maize and mango.
The Union Cabinet is expected to soon approve a relief package for farmers grappling with falling prices of their crops and to tackle distress in the farm sector, according to sources. The likely relief package is seen as an attempt to assuage the farming community's discontent ahead of the general elections. "... The agriculture ministry's proposal on addressing income deficit syndrome of small and marginal farmers is on the agenda (of the Cabinet meeting)," a source said.
Leaders of various organisations fighting for interests and rights of farmers have demanded compensation for wheat and potato growers of the region who suffered losses due to heavy rain and hailstorm that lashed the region two days ago. They have urged the higher authorities in the Revenue Department that individual field should be treated as unit for assessment of loss and demanded a special girdavari in this connection.
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