Vijayawada: Farmer suicides in Andhra Pradesh rose to 1,029 in 2019 from 664 in 2018, according to the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report. Andhra Pradesh ranks third in the country in terms of the number of farmer suicides, behind Maharashtra (3,927) and Karnataka (1,992), according to the report.

The report also shows that 438 farmers who ended their lives cultivated their own farmland, while 190 had leased their land, and 401 were engaged as agricultural labourers. Of the 1,029 farmer suicides in AP in 2019, 190 were female.

While the report did not specify the reasons behind the farmer suicides, K. Lokanatham, a member of the CPM, said increased input cost coupled with crop loss due to extreme weather conditions, poor marketing facilities, and low profits were some reasons behind the suicides. He further said even farmers in the fertile Guntur region were ending their lives due to losses.

The CPM leaders said that the majority of farmer suicides in the state has been reported in the Rayalaseema region and scattered locations in north-coastal AP. Poor returns from farming have forced small farmers in parts of Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts to migrate to nearby cities and towns in search of livelihood, they added.

While claiming that providing freebies to the agricultural sector will not address the crisis, the leaders instead demanded input subsidy, improved marketing facilities, and profitable price for farm produce. While several committees have recommended that a minimum support price (MSP) that is at least 50 per cent above the cost of production be extended to farmers, it is yet to be implemented.

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