Aurangabad: The hike in fuel prices and labour costs have made farming a costly affair, farmers in Maharashtra's Aurangabad claim.
Under current circumstances, cultivators have started adopting alternative techniques to cut down the expenses, they said.
Machinery used in farming runs on fuel and many a times cultivators have to rent the equipment.
Talking to PTI, Bhagwan Bongane, a farmer who is pursuing BSc Agriculture, said, "I own a tractor. A tractor requires six litres of diesel to plough one acre of land. Earlier, this used to cost me Rs 400. But now, the price has gone up to nearly Rs 650." Farmers who rent machinery have to shell out Rs 1,800 to plough an acre of land, while last year, they only spent Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,100 for the purpose, he said.
Cultivators are now figuring ways to bring down their expenses, another farmer Deepak Joshi said.
"We have started sowing seeds without using a plough. We would spend around Rs 1,000 to remove weeds and unwanted grass on an acre. But now we don't remove the grass and ensure that it decomposes in the field itself. This helps us reduce the cost of additives we need to add in the soil for better yield," Joshi said.
The increase in labour cost has also made cultivation costlier, he said.
"Till last year, we paid a daily sum of Rs 200 per labourer, but the cost has now risen to Rs 400 per day," Joshi said.
Businesses based on agriculture are flourishing, but the farmers are not, he claimed, adding that transporting the produce to the markets has also become expensive because of the fuel price hike.
Aurangabad-based fertilizer dealer Jagannath Kale said, "The prices of fertilizers have gone up. A 25 kg bag of water-soluble fertilizer costed Rs 2,500 rupees in the last kharif season. This year, the prices might double." District Superintendent Agriculture officer Tukaram Mote said, "The overall prices of fuel and environment-related concerns have hampered farming and the expenses have gone up."