Hyderabad: The excess production of red chilli and unremunerative prices has left farmers angry.
Opposition Congress and other parties besides farmers’ organisations have taken to the streets in support of chilli farmers and sought government intervention, demanding Rs 12,000 per quintal, The state government has knocked at the Centre’s doors for help since there is no minimum support price fixed for red chilli.
Farmers are blockading highways and stating protests at market yards across the state to bring pressure on government to ensure minimum support. Farmers blocked Suryapet-Khammam highway and tried to burn red chillies, while Alampur Congress MLA S.A. Sampath Kumar laid siege to the agriculture department office in Hyderabad with hundreds of farmers.
Congress kisan wing chairman M. Kodanda Reddy organised protests across the state, demanding MSP of Rs 12,000 per quintal and other measures to save farmers from distress. This season, good rains and adequate availability of water led to farmers going for red chilli cultivation in a big way.
From 61,500 hectares in 2015-16, chilli cultivation shot up to 1.12 lakh hectares in 2016-17. Production is likely to go up further from 70 lakh quintals to 87 lakh quintals this year.
Chilli rates depend on demand and supply; with minimum supply price not indicated for it, the prices have been fluctuating widely.
Marketing minister T. Harish Rao said chilli production had increased by up to 14 per cent, adversely impacting prices, ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 per quintal compared to Rs 10,000 per quintal last year.
“The government has decided to procure chillies at Rs 7,000 per quintal directly from farmers. The Centre should provide 50 per cent assistance,” Mr Rao wrote to Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh recently.
According to Mr Ashok Reddy, an aide of Mr Harish Rao, besides the red chilli glut in Warangal, Khammam and Guntur markets, there has been a drop in exports to China, Malay-sia, Thailand, Singapore and Bangladesh....