As per farmers, the marketing system under the aegis of the AMCs worked well, and the acreage under social forestry plantations went up.
August 27, 2016
As per a leading national daily, the farmers in the drought-prone Prakasam district, who took to social forestry plantations in a big way with the authorities promoting them as an alternative to tobacco, are now disillusioned. They allege paper mills for not honoring the agreement reached at the behest of the State government in January this year. Threatening to call it quits, they warned that the country would be forced to import the costly wood pulp spending valuable foreign exchange or fell trees in the forest adversely affecting the environment.
Ahead of the meeting convened by the district administration to break the deadlock on August 27, representatives of the farmers’ organizations insisted that the government put in place the old system wherein the farmers sold to the paper mills only through the Agriculture Market Committee (AMC).
The AMCs should be provided with a revolving fund to make purchases from the famers on behalf of the paper mills by offering a remunerative price, Prakasam district Development Forum president Ch. Ranga Rao said.
The marketing system under the aegis of the AMCs worked well, and the acreage under social forestry plantations went up to two lakh acres before falling to 1.5 lakh acres in the last three years with the paper mills bypassing the AMCs and making purchases through their agents, explained Rythu Sangham district secretary D. Gopinath.
This came at a time when the pulp wood imported from various countries ranged from Rs. 33 to Rs. 60 per kg, excluding import duties and inland freight costs, said Prakasam district Rythu Sangham president M. Srinivasa Rao. The government should insist on payment of at least Rs. 4,400 per tonne for Subabul and Rs. 4,600 per tonne for eucalyptus by the paper mills.
The government should ensure that the purchases were made only by AMC-authorised stock points, added Congress’ farmers’ wing district president V. Rajagopal Reddy.