20 September 2010
HYDERABAD: When it was launched a few months ago, it was dubbed as an innovative inter-sectoral convergence programme for marginal SC/ST farmers that addressed their concerns of poverty, land development and farm productivity.
Worried:SC/ST farmers ponder over irregular furrows dug up in their small farm in Anantapur district.
The “Mothukuru Model” covering 3.33 lakh acres in over 4114 villages in 321 mandals all over the State at a cost of Rs. 1,332 crore involved intensive soil and moisture conservation (SMC) activities helping poor farmers to go in for multi-tier cropping with vegetables, perennial red gram, castor and fruits, ensuring year- long steady income.
Forget raising their income, the rows of irregular furrows dug up on their tiny assigned lands as part of the National Rural Employment Guarantee and Community Managed Sustainable Agriculture convergence programme are fetching them nothing but tears, a study has revealed.
For these huge furrows (talli saallu) combined with compost pits and farm ponds are occupying major chunk of the two to three acre pieces of lands typically assigned to each of the SC/ST families by government leaving no space for raising crops. These have become such a headache for the poor farmers that they are digging up furrows to get wages and then filling them up to grow crops. “Agreed, furrows are good for SMC concept but they cannot be one-size-fits- all solution all over the State.
“Our study in three mandals in Anantapur district shows that it is not the best solution for those having small land holdings. With no clarity on specifications of furrows, no field level supervision and monitoring and without building awareness among farmers, the programme has failed to give desired results”, says M. S. Chandra, former director of Centre for Action Research and People’s Development (CARPED)who did the study.
He wants Government to exercise caution before scaling it up to 12 lakh acres.
In his study, he has quoted a number of farmers.
“ They made us dig a trench around my three acre farm and then furrows all over, besides a compost pit and a farm pond leaving no space for even moving bulls for ploughing and just about an acre for cultivation. What income will I get from it”, rues Srinivasulu of Poolakuntlapally in Aamduguru mandal of Anantapur district. Several others echo his feelings.