The cost of corn in India’s agricultural sector has soared due to a new rice crop drought in the region.
Farmers say they are facing severe shortages of fertiliser and fertiliser seed, and some have started to ration food, forcing them to buy their own food.
Farm and Rural Development Minister K.K. Venugopal told the Financial Times newspaper that farmers were facing a serious drought and that the government would soon begin rationing fertiliser for rice, which accounts for almost 80 per cent of the country’s annual output.
Farm production has dropped to its lowest level in six years, and farmers in the affected states of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra have reported a sharp decline in crops.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the new crop drought was affecting the rural economy.
“The cost of fertilisers, fertiliser seeds, fertilisers is going up, and we are seeing farmers are being forced to purchase fertiliser, seed, fertilizers at a steep rate.
There are also difficulties in securing land and a lot of farmers are not able to procure the land, so the prices have gone up,” he said.
The government had last month imposed a one-off ban on the sale of fertilizers and seeds as the government began the rationing process to help farmers.
The farmers were not able the buy fertiliser or seeds from the government at a price, as they had not got any since the last price freeze in December 2016.
“We are going through a difficult time and the situation is worsening by the day.
Farmers are having to buy seed at a hefty price.
Farmers don’t have the means to buy fertilisers at the present price,” said farmer Naveen, who runs a small business in Haryana state.
India is facing an acute shortage of fertilised rice.
The World Bank has said that there is a shortage of nearly 50 per cent fertiliser.
The situation has worsened over the past year, with farmers facing increasing shortages of rice.
Rural Development Minister Venugovalopal said the government was looking into the possibility of extending the price freeze to include rice fertiliser in the coming days.