INDIA: Paddy crop failure hits Nuapada farmers hard

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – HUNGER ALERT PROGRAMME

Hunger Alert Case: AHRC-HAC-003-2016

29 November 2016
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INDIA: Paddy crop failure hits Nuapada farmers hard

ISSUES: Indigenous people; institutional reform; labour rights; land rights; poverty & adequate standard of living; right to food; right to redress
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Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from Krushak Shakti Sangthan (KSS) about paddy crop failure having hit farmers hard in Nuapada district of Odisha. KSS has also informed the AHRC that most of the farmers had incurred loans for growing crops and the crop failure has thus exposed them to a major crisis of failing on repayment and incurring more interests in the process. The AHRC demands immediate intervention into issue by the authorities and urges them to redress the situation by surveying the extent of crop failure at the earliest and compensating the farmers accordingly.

CASE NARRATIVE:

Farmers of Domjhar Panchayat of Nuapada district have suffered huge losses in paddy crop in the current Kharif season. The farmers allege that the crop failure occurred because of sale centres cheating them with bad quality seeds. Mr. Basant Behera, one the farmers from Domjhar village, alleged that he cultivated high yielding paddy varieties MTU 1001 and Puja in his three acre of irrigated low land but lost all of the crop because of seed failure. Mr. Behera noted that the though the seedlings were healthy and the crop growth was very good yet there was no fruiting at the end and his hopes of getting a minimum of 70 quintal of paddy was all shattered. He further added that after growing healthily, all the plants turned grey without yielding a single sprout.

The farmers added that they had not gotten any seed in any of the sale centres in the district so they had to buy it from a neighbouring sale centre in Bangomunda block of Balangir district. The fact that most of the farmers had incurred loans for growing the crop merely adds to their woes of crop loss. Mr. Behera, for example, had borrowed more than Rs 40,000 and the total crop failure leaves him in no condition of repaying it. Krushak Shakti Sangthan has found that many other farmers of the Panchayat like Raju Behera, Maniram Lunar, Ludra and Shankar share the same fate despite having bought the seeds from the Government sale centre at Khaira of Boden block in the district. They too found that their crops grew well but failed to flower amounting to total loss.

Farmers in the other panchayats of the district have also suffered medium to heavy losses because of the quality of seeds they could find. For instance, unavailability of seeds in the markets as well as government sale centres forced the farmers of Palsada village of to use old seeds from their own stocks leading to far lower yields. The reason behind this is that the High Yield Variety paddy seeds, often developed by government’s agricultural research and resource centres need replacement after three to four years of cultivation. If the farmers get forced to use the same because of the non-availability of new seeds in the time of need, they are bound to incur heavy losses because of low yields.

Krushak Shakti Sangthan has found out that at least 17 farmers have lost their crops because of of bad quality or outdated seeds in Domjhar panchayat alone. The KSS, however, adds that the situation prevails all over the district and the actual numbers of the farmers hit by crop failure is much higher.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write to the authorities mentioned below demanding immediate intervention into the issue and seek help for the family. You may also demand that the government keep a vigil on such actions which threaten the livelihood and food security of the marginalised sections of the country.

To support this case, please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear __________,

INDIA: Paddy crop failure hits Nuapada farmers hard

Name of the victims: Farmers of Nuapada district
Date and Time of the incident: August 2016, ongoing
Place of incident: Nuapada district, Odisha

I am writing to you to express my concern over the distressed formers in Nuapada district after bad quality and outdated seeds led to crop failure.

Farmers of Domjhar Panchayat of Nuapada district have suffered huge losses in paddy crop in the current Kharif season. The farmers allege that the crop failure occurred because of sale centres cheating them with bad quality seeds. Mr. Basant Behera, one the farmers from Domjhar village, alleged that he cultivated high yielding paddy varieties MTU 1001 and Puja in his three acre of irrigated low land but lost all of the crop because of seed failure. Mr. Behera noted that the though the seedlings were healthy and the crop growth was very good yet there was no fruiting at the end and his hopes of getting a minimum of 70 quintal of paddy was all shattered. He further added that after growing healthily, all the plants turned grey without yielding a single sprout.

The farmers added that they had not gotten any seed in any of the sale centres in the district so they had to buy it from a neighbouring sale centre in Bangomunda block of Balangir district. The fact that most of the farmers had incurred loans for growing the crop merely adds to their woes of crop loss. Mr. Behera, for example, had borrowed more than Rs 40,000 and the total crop failure leaves him in no condition of repaying it. Krushak Shakti Sangthan has found that many other farmers of the Panchayat like Raju Behera, Maniram Lunar, Ludra and Shankar share the same fate despite having bought the seeds from the Government sale centre at Khaira of Boden block in the district. They too found that their crops grew well but failed to flower amounting to total loss.

Farmers in the other panchayats of the district have also suffered medium to heavy losses because of the quality of seeds they could find. For instance, unavailability of seeds in the markets as well as government sale centres forced the farmers of Palsada village of to use old seeds from their own stocks leading to far lower yields. The reason behind this is that the High Yield Variety paddy seeds, often developed by government’s agricultural research and resource centres need replacement after three to four years of cultivation. If the farmers get forced to use the same because of the non-availability of new seeds in the time of need, they are bound to incur heavy losses because of low yields.

Krushak Shakti Sangthan has found out that at least 17 farmers have lost their crops because of of bad quality or outdated seeds in Domjhar panchayat alone. The KSS, however, adds that the situation prevails all over the district and the actual numbers of the farmers hit by crop failure is much higher.

It is in this context that I urge you to ensure that

1. The administration conducts an immediate survey to map the extent of crop failure and compensate the affected farmers appropriately for saving them from falling into debt bondage,
2. An inquiry is initiated to find out the reasons behind unavailability of seeds in the district during the sowing season for ensuring punishment to those behind it if it was deliberate
3. The administration ensures that basic essentials for cultivation including seeds, fertilisers and pesticides are available to farmers when they need them.

Sincerely,
_______

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Justice H.L. Dattu, Chairperson
National Human Rights Commsion
Manav Adhikar Bhawan
Block-C, G.P.O. Complex, INA
New Delhi-110023
INDIA
Email:cr.nhrc@nic.in

2. Mr Naveen Patnaik
Chief Minister of Odisha
Odisha Secretariat
Sachivalaya Marg
Bhubaneshwar, Odisha
INDIA
Fax : +91 674 2535100

4. Shri A P Padhi
Chief Secretary
Orissa Secretariat
Bhubaneshwar – 751001
Odhisha
INDIA
Fax: +91 674-2536660 / +91 674 2536660
E-mail: csori@ori.nic.in

5. Justice B. K. Mishra
Chairperson,
Odisha Human Rights Commission
Toshali Bhawan Complex (2nd floor), Satya Nagar
P.O. Saheed Nagar, Bhubneswar-751007
INDIA
Fax: +91 – 2573785/2572234/2572010
Email- ohrc@nic.in

6. Md. Sadique Alam
District Collector
Collectorate
Nuapada Tanwat, Nuapada District
766105 Orissa
INDIA
Fax: +91 6678 223465
E-mail: dmnuapada@ori.nic.in

Hunger Alerts Programme
Right to Food Programme (foodjustice@ahrc.asia)
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

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