Andhra Pradesh to Export Farmers to East Africa
Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh plans to send hundreds of farmers to East
Africa to cultivate farmland in countries such as Kenya, Tanzania
and Uganda, officials said on Thursday.
The state is holding talks with the Kenyan government to lease 50,000
acres of land and send about 1,000 farmers there to work, they said.
Hundreds of debt-ridden farmers in the state have committed suicide
"This is a business opportunity for Andhra farmers, who are well-versed
in tropical and arid area farming," the state's Agriculture Minister,
N Raghuveera Reddy, told Reuters.
At least, 502 farmers have killed themselves since May, when YSR Reddy's
Congress party government took power in the state.
About 500 farmers have already agreed to take up the offer and to
leave a state so far better known for sending thousands of engineers
to work in computer software firms in western countries, mostly the
The Andhra government and Kenyan officials are working on an memorandum
of understanding (MoU) that will flesh out details, said CC Reddy,
an adviser to the state government who came up with the plan.
Talks were also being held with representatives of the governments
of Tanzania and Uganda to send farmers to those countries as well,
Under the plan, state agriculture officials will accompany the farmers
to help establish cooperatives and coordinate with the Kenyan government.
The cooperatives will be run by the farmers themselves and will grow
sugarcane, tobacco, cotton, groundnut, millet, chickpea, fruits and
"Farmers can send their earnings to families back home without any
hindrance," Reddy said, adding that the state government would pay
for their travel, and also for interpreters.
Under the relocation plan, the Andhra government will pay the East
African countries to lease the land for cooperatives, which will employ
the farmers and pay back the lease costs through earnings from farm
output. The Kenyan envoy to India held talks with Andhra officials
last week and the two sides were expected to sign an agreement soon,
Thousands of farmers, unable to pay rising debts as their crops failed,
have also committed suicide in the neighbouring states of Karnataka,
Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.
Situation has been grim in Rajasthan as well as the state police opened
fire on a large group of farmers killing four people after they set
fire to a police station on Wednesday, demanding water to irrigate
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