- Title: Indian farmers fear lost crops and income after 'black money' move
- Date: 18th November 2016
- Summary: KALBADI VILLAGE, NUH, HARYANA, INDIA (NOVEMBER 17, 2016) (REUTERS) TRACTOR DRIVING THROUGH VILLAGE FIELDS VILLAGER CARRYING WOOD VARIOUS OF WOMEN WORKING IN THE FIELDS YOUNG GIRL PLOUGHING THE FIELD SWEET POTATOES IN BOWL AFTER BEING COLLECTED FROM THE FIELD YOUNG GIRL CUTTING SWEET POTATO PLANTS WITH A SICKLE (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) FARMER OF KALBADI VILLAGE, SHATABI, SAYING: "How will a crop grow? Even if we manage to have a crop, the harvest will be less. If the sowing gets delayed then the moisture will be lost and if that happens then nothing will grow in that soil. It (the cash crunch) is a big problem for land owners." VARIOUS OF MAN DRIVING TRACTOR AND PLOUGHING FIELD VARIOUS OF TRACTOR PLOUGHING FIELD VARIOUS OF FARMER SOWING SEEDS IN FRESHLY PLOUGHED FIELD (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) FARMER OF KALBADI VILLAGE, BAHADUR SINGH, SAYING: "Farmers are facing problems of seeds, fertilizer and diesel." Reporter asking Question (Hindi): What is the problem, are you not getting the seeds? Answer: Seeds are available but you can't get seeds without money. Without money no one will give you seeds, that is the issue." VARIOUS OF SEEDS AND FERTILIZER SHOPS IN A LOCAL MARKET BOARD READING (Hindi): "TAYAL SEED SHOP" MAN RESTING ON PILE OF SACKS CONTAINING WHEAT SEEDS SACKS OF SEEDS PEOPLE WALKING DOWN MARKET STREET (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) ELDERLY FARMER, JEEVAN KHAN, SAYING: "We are not getting anything and this new currency note of 2,000 rupees that they have introduced, no one is accepting it because people do not have lose money to return as change. REPORTER ASKING (Hindi): "Are farmers facing any issues in procuring seeds?" "Yes there is a problem in procuring seeds - either we buy seeds for the whole 2,000 rupees or for 1,000 rupees but we actually need to buy for a lesser amount and that is not possible." (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) LAND OWNER AND FARMER, RAJ PAL SINGH, SAYING: "We are suffering heavy losses, it (the cash crunch) has become a huge problem. Our money getting deposited, and the seeds or fertilizers are not available." WOMEN TILLING FIELDS MAN SOWING SEEDS TRACTOR DRIVING PAST AS SUN SETS
- Embargoed: 3rd December 2016 05:13
- Keywords: India farmers economy seeds fertilizer crops rupee notes currency
- Location: NUH, HARYANA, INDIA
- City: NUH, HARYANA, INDIA
- Country: India
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00158Z07D1
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: India's decision to abolish high denomination bank notes could hardly have come at a worse time for the 263 million farmers, like Shatabi and Bahadur Singh, who now cannot get enough cash to buy the seeds and fertilizers they need for their winter crops.
Lower farm output in the planting season that began in October threatens to drag down India's farm and overall economic growth, hurting rural communities only just recovering after two years of drought.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes would be withdrawn from circulation to crack down on corruption and counterfeit currency.
Since the banned rupee notes made up more than 80 percent of the currency in circulation, the move left millions without cash and threatened to bring much of the cash-driven economy to a halt.
While city dwellers are still queuing up to exchange or deposit old money at the bank, and to draw new funds, many villagers live miles from the nearest branch and have yet to see the new notes being rushed into circulation.
Farmers who have already spent money on ploughing and irrigation to keep the soil moist can ill afford to leave their land fallow. Late sowing typically reduces yields and increases the risk that inclement spring weather could damage crops.
"How will a crop grow? Even if we manage to have a crop, the harvest will be less," said Shatabi, a land owning farmer from the village of Kalbadi in the northern Indian state of Haryana, some 70 kilometres from New Delhi.
Most farmers in this belt along a brand new Manesar-Palwal highway say they spend an average 58,000 rupees ($855) per hectare to grow wheat, only to eke out a meagre income of 70,000 rupees ($1,028) a hectare. That assumes a crop yield of about 3.2 tonnes per hectare.
A drop in wheat output would boost local prices that are already near record highs. Stocks are at their lowest level for nearly a decade, and even before the latest cash crunch, private traders were expected to import around 3 million tonnes this year.
Bahadur Singh, who works a small plot of land in the same area as Shatabi, said farmers like him are struggling to buy seeds, fertilizer and diesel.
He added that seeds were only available in the market if one had the right currency bills to buy them.
To stave off mounting criticism, the government on Thursday (November 17) allowed farmers to withdraw up to 25,000 rupees ($368) a week against their crop loans.
But that cuts little ice with farmers, who often rely for their cash not on banks but on money lenders charging annual interest of up to 40 percent.
After selling their rice crop last month, many are stuck with old 500 and 1,000 bills they can no longer spend.
They are only allowed to exchange 2,000 rupees into new money, and the rest must be deposited before the notes cease to be accepted by banks after December 30.
And of the few who did manage to lay their hands on the brand new 2,000 rupee notes, making purchases with them is proving tough.
Jeevan Khan, another farmer, said no one was accepting the new currency notes because of the shortage of smaller denomination bills to pay back in return.
Other farmers recounted similar hardships. "We are suffering heavy losses, it (the cash crunch) has become a huge problem. Our money getting deposited, and the seeds or fertilizers are not available," said Raj Pal Singh.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None