Price crash affects farmers in Anantapur

Tomato farmers expected attractive price while sowing, but face loss.

Anantapur: A kg of tomatoes was Rs 60 one month ago, but the same plunged to Rs 2 in the markets of Rayalaseema. This is not the first time such a huge variation is reported, but it is being seen every year in two different seasons.

Abnormal fluctuations in the price were due to lack of timely marketing facilities in other countries and states. Presently, farmers are not even in a position to get transport and labour for the produce after price crashed.

The price fall, as low as to Rs 2 this time is making it difficult for thousands of farmers to recover from the shock. Obulesu, a farmer from Parigi, raised the crop on a large scale by investing Rs 70,000. He raised the water-intensive crop with difficulty by hiring water from a nearby landlord after his borewell started giving problems.

“We hoped an attractive price and profit at the time of sowing, but the situation is worse during harvesting period. The middlemen were also not showing interest in buying because of the steep fall in price,” he lamented.

Another farmer, Sreeramulu, from Kalyanadurg division was seen selling on a bullock cart on Anantapur roads lamented the prices would go down further because of excess production.

Six software engineers from Chennai had initiated a pilot project to find out a solution for the farmers to overcome losses. They invested their own money to take agriculture research to farmers in Pulivendula area four years ago.

The pilot project, which was pra-ised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) as a remarkable venture, enabled 40,000 farmers in Pulivendula mandal of Kadapa district to use latest agricultural practices which helped them increase earnings.

During the first phase of the project, farmers not only increased their earnings but due to the good quality of the crops, received orders from Singapore for supply of all varieties of produce including sweet lime and pomegranates, while several retail outlets placed orders for other harvests.

“For four years, our team walked hundreds of miles through the area. Since it was our pilot project, we had no salaries. We spent over Rs 10 lakh from our own pockets to sustain the project as well as ourselves,” said Tamil Nadu-based Thiruchelvam Ramakrishnan, who initiated the project and further lamented the next phase of project was kept aside after governments changed.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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