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Farmer suicides higher in Maha compared to others: govt

The number of farmer suicides in Maharashtra is higher compared to other states in the country, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said today.

“As compared to other states, farmers suicides are maximum in Maharashtra,” Singh said without disclosing the details, on the sidelines of a book launch here.

Asked about the reasons for growing suicides in the state, the Minister said funds allocated from the Centre are not being utilised fully for the welfare of farmers and growth of agriculture sector.

“It is surprising that funds allocated under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) for 2013-14 have not been utilised.

“Of Rs 5,000 crore given under dairy and livestock schemes, Rs 3,000 crore has not been utilised at all,” he said.

In August last year, Parliament was informed that Maharashtra had witnessed 37 farmer suicides — the highest among all states — due to agrarian reasons till March.

After launching a book ‘Wealth per Acre’ authored jointly by ecologist Vandana Shiva and Vaibhav Singh, the Minister said that the Centre is taking various measures to improve the plight of farmers.

To promote traditional organic farming, a scheme is being worked out for launch in one lakh villages across the country. A proposal in this regard has been placed before the Finance Minister for approval, he said.

Also, a crop insurance scheme is being tweaked to protect farmers from farming risks, while efforts are also being made to promote and protect livestock sector especially through ‘Gokul Mission’, he added.

On the eve of the World Food Day, the Agriculture Minister also called for more investment in family farms to channel affordable credit and sustainability especially to combat impact of climate change.

Stating that almost 200 million hectares of gross cropped area is cultivated by small farm holders in the country, he said: “On the World food Day, all of us should resolve to strengthen family farmers keeping in view their contribution to Indian Agriculture and to ensure food security.” The theme selected for this year’s World Food Day is Family Farming: “Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth”.

The intention of observing this Day is to raise public awareness about the plight of the hungry and malnourished people all over the world and initiate comprehensive action to tackle and mitigate the menace of malnutrition and hunger, the Minister said in a separate statement.

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