In a major setback to the government, the decision to demonetise higher denomination currency notes is set to worsen the plight of farmers as non-availability of cash with farmers is delaying the sowing of two major rabi pulses, chana and masoor. According to experts, if the situation doesn’t improve in the next 15 days, it’s imminent that production of rabi pulses would be down by 20 per cent.
“Given that the sowing period for chana starts from the last week of October and it continues till last week of November, So most of the famers have already prepared their field for sowing of pulses, but due to unavailability of cash in their hand, they are not able to pay wages to labourers,” said Ramesh Chandra Lahoti, who heads Grain Merchants’ Association of Bengaluru.
“The mid-Nov period is very crucial for rabi crops. All the activities such as sprinkling of pesticides, weeding out of herbicides, irrigation of crops, etc cannot be done without the help of workers and with cash crunch in market, it would take another 20 days to get the situation normal,” Lahoti added.
While expressing his woes, Ganesh Nanote, a farmer from Vidarbha, said, “We have prepared our fields for sowing, but we don’t have cash to pay the wages of workers as whatever money we have is old currency notes. They are not taking the old notes and also not ready to work now and pay later basis.” “The banks in our region are very far. We have to travel about 10 km to 15 km to reach nearest banks and the long ending queues are making it very tough for farmers to get required cash. Also, the withdrawal limit of Rs 2,500 per day from ATMs and Rs 24,000 in a week from banks is posing another challenge for us,”.
“In rural areas, the security is major concern for farmers. Even if we manage to withdraw the amount, there is always a fear of money being robbed off by miscreants,” said Dharmendra Kumar, a farmer from Bihar. He further added that, the decision would hit farmers a lot as sowing area would come down under given circumstances, which would ultimately lower the production of rabi pulses by at least 20 per cent. India is a major chickpea producing country. MP is the top chana producing state followed by Maharashtra, Rajasthan AP, UP, Karnataka and other remaining states.