Sunday, December 3, Basinepalli, Anantapur District: Today, there was a farmers’ conclave at Yerragudi under Pattikonda assembly constituency. The meeting was convened to explore and further develop ideas to turn agriculture into a lucrative enterprise. Leaders of farmers’ organisations, who have been working in this field for several years, attended this conclave. The primary focus was on how to protect and further the interests of the farmers during various stages starting from buying the seeds to selling the produce. Several invaluable suggestions were put forth after thorough discussions at the conclave. I am grateful to all of them for these useful inputs.

Farmers today lack a sense of direction and are concerned about the worsening crisis which is plaguing the agricultural sector in our state. I have a clear plan of action and several innovative ideas to turn the tide. The problems of the farmers start from the level of land ownership. I will ensure that the farmers do not face any problem in respect of land ownership. I propose to give them clear titles for ownership of their lands. To make the farmers smile again, a slew of measures are required which include–power supply and irrigation facility for farming, timely supply of farm loans, quality seeds, fertilisers and pesticides, introduction of Rythu Bharosa – a farm guarantee scheme -- to bring down input costs, timely expert advice, ensuring market access and a fair price for the produce, adequate storage facilities and setting up of secondary and tertiary allied agro-based industries. This will accelerate rural economic growth and provide much-needed food security to the state.

Today, we face a situation where the farmer is not proud of being a farmer. We should ensure that one takes pride in his profession. A farmer’s son, despite being academically qualified, should proudly take to farming and feel happy that he is providing livelihood to thousands through agriculture. We should strive to ensure that a farmer should take as much pride in his profession as a software engineer or a banker or a medical professional does in his. I envision a time when agriculture reaches a stage where even academically qualified people take to farming as a full-time vocation.

I have now completed the Kurnool leg of the Praja Sankalpa Yatra. For the last 18 days, we managed to cover 14 mandals under seven Assembly constituencies. I can never forget the love and affection showered upon me by thousands of people every step of the way in Kurnool. I shall always remain indebted to them for the warmth that they have displayed all along. When the People’s Government takes over, resolution of problems that people brought to my notice during this yatra will be of paramount importance in my scheme of things.