Bhawanipatna: Paddy traders and private moneylenders are luring the farmers of Kalahandi district with loan offers as the latter launched preparations for farm works for the Kharif season with the start of the monsoon rain, a report said.
The district has experienced good rainfall with the timely arrival of monsoon in the state. This has brought cheers among the farmers as they started making preparations for cultivation.
The farmers need loan to raise their crops right from tilling their lands to purchasing of seeds, pesticides and fertilisers. As such they need loans in lakhs to raise their crops.
The situation has proved conducive for the paddy traders and moneylenders who are making all out efforts in ensnaring the farmers with loans at a high interest rate.
The farmers who avail these loans have to pay back their harvested paddy to these moneylenders and paddy traders at a price much lesser than the minimum support price fixed by the government.
As a result, the farmer gets trapped in the vicious cycle of distress sale and continue to remain poor and at the mercy of these moneylenders. It is alleged that the self-help groups who are availing loans from micro-finance companies and later, lending them to these farmers are no less culprit than these private moneylenders as they continue to harass and torment the latter for payback.
The moneylenders and paddy traders are moving from village to village and offering loans to the farmers for their farm works. The gullible farmers without understanding their real intensions are falling prey to their words and taking loan for their farm works at high interest rate.
This has happened as getting loan for farm works is not easy for the small and marginal farmers as well as share-croppers in Kalahandi district, the report added. Most of the farmers in the district who had suffered from crop loss last year are yet to get their claims settled by the insurance companies.
Moreover, farmers in the district have been severely affected by the lockdown due to spread of coronavirus disease in the country. It is apprehended that it will not be easier for the farmers to get back to their farm works as they are yet to recover from financial loss arising out of the lockdown.
The Centre and state government are laying stress on providing loan to the farmers to tide over the crisis arising out of the lockdown.
Observers claimed that these loan facilities only exist for the big farmers while small and marginal farmers are deprived of the same. This is because small and marginal farmers find it difficult to process their documents and avail loans from the banks.
As a result, the private moneylenders and paddy traders are the only source of availing loans with easy documentation. Observers demanded before the state government to identify the small and marginal farmers and share-croppers through proper agencies and provide them easy loan facilities at their doorsteps.