Monday, February 14, 2011

Dr.JP and Farmer's Leaders Memorandum to C.M. On 'Paddy Purchase, Boiled, BPT Rice Export and Cane S.A.P'

The following is the text of the Memorandum that Lok Satta Party President Dr.Jayaprakash Narayan along with Party leaders and Independent Farmers' Organisations submitted to the Chief Minister N.Kiran Kumar Reddy at Secretariat today (February 14, 2011, Monday).

Sri Kiran Kumar Reddy
Chief Minister
Govt. of Andhra Pradesh

Dear Sri Kiran Kumar Reddy garu,

We, on behalf of independent farmers’ organizations and Lok Satta Party would like to convey our sense of deep disappointment over the Empowered Group of Ministers’ decision to permit exports of a meager one lakh tons of BPT 5204 (Sona Masuri) rice. More distressing is the government’s silence on export of boiled rice.

1. As you are well aware, heavy rains during the kharif season in our State left lakhs of tons of paddy discolored and damaged. Millers can convert such paddy into boiled rice, which has no takers in India at present but commands a good price overseas. Farmers have made distress sales of damaged paddy to millers since Governmental agencies are not active in the market.

2. By banning export of non-basmati rice for the last two years, the Government of India has caused incalculable harm to the farming community. Millers do not procure damaged paddy from farmers unless they can market the boiled rice outside the country. There is no market for boiled rice within India.

3. The decision to persist with the ban on non-basmati rice exports, barring the current minor relaxation, is unwarranted. As of January, the country has rice stocks of 175 lakh tons, against the buffer stock norm of 118 lakh tons. Against such a backdrop, the Government of India must protect farmers’ interests, as there are adequate stocks to meet the Public Distribution System requirements and domestic needs. Banning export of surplus food grains harms the interests of farmers and tenants severely, and undermines the national interest of export promotion.

4. We request you to persuade the Government of India to permit export of at least 15 lakh tons of Sona Masuri (BPT 5204) and 15 lakh tons of boiled rice. State-owned undertakings can undertake the exports considering that the international prices are ruling high, and share part of the profits with the farming community, which has suffered huge losses.

5. Andhra Pradesh is the only state imposing restrictions on sale of agricultural produce across the borders. I urge you to immediately order permanent lifting of all restrictions on food grains trade across the state borders so that there is an integrated market in the country, and AP farmers will get a better price.

6. We also request you to announce a State Advisory Price (SAP) of at least Rs.2300 per ton of sugarcane, considering the steep hike in costs of cultivation, cutting and transport and the satisfactory price of sugar the factories are obtaining. As per Supreme Court decision, the state government has the power to announce State Advisory Price. Since the government is silent, some of the sugar factories are exploiting the farmers’ vulnerability, and are paying below `2000 per MT, which is even lower than last year’s price, though the costs have gone up by 20%.

7. With farming becoming a losing proposition, farmers and tenants are migrating in droves to urban areas. No farmer these days wants his son or daughter to stick to farming because the future is going to be bleaker. Therefore, getting a fair and remunerative price for farm produce is critical for the health of rural economy. I therefore hope that you will intervene immediately to help paddy and sugarcane farmers in distress.

Yours truly,

Jayaprakash Narayan
Prabhakar Reddy
DVVS Varma

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