Farmers of pulses rue damage when prices are high

Heavy rainfall, supply of only substandard fertilisers and pesticides, apart from bad cropping practices have led to drastic falls in yield

KAKINADA: Yields of pulses like black gram, green gram, red gram and Bengal gram have gone down steeply in both Godavari delta and upland areas. Heavy rainfall, supply of only substandard fertilisers and pesticides, apart from bad cropping practices have led to drastic falls in the yield.

Farmers complain that had authorities given them quality fertilisers and pesticides, in addition to guiding them in their usage, yields would have been better.

Certain areas in Andhra Pradesh grow pulses as an alternative to paddy, particularly farmers living in upland areas. According to Agriculture Department officials, green gram, red gram, black gram and Bengal gram normally yield 6–7 bags per acre. But this year, yield of black gram was just 0.5–3 bags and Green gram and Bengal gram yielded only 2 bags.

While farmers do acknowledge that cyclones and heavy rains damaged their crop, they are blaming government officials in not ensuring that good quality fertilisers and pesticides are supplied. Farmer V. S. Raju said, “We had high hopes on black gram. But when we spread fertilisers and pesticides, they ended up decreasing our yield.” He said though he sowed black gram in three acres, he got only three bags. Had agricultural officials given proper advice to farmers on alternative crops and supplied good fertilisers and pesticides, he would have got a good yield.

Traders are coming forward to buy black gram at Rs. 7,500 to Rs. 8,000 per quintal. Farmers say though prices of black gram in retail market are Rs. 110 to Rs. 130 per kilo, government has fixed a minimum support price (MSP) of only Rs. 6,000 per quintal for black gram, Rs. 7,196 for green gram, Rs. 5,100 for Bengal gram and Rs. 1,850 for maize. “The government should have fixed the MSP of pulses higher,” Raju remarked.

Markfed district manager I. Manju said if any trader forces farmers to sell their produce below MSP, they must inform Rythu Bharosa Kendrams (RBKs). Volunteers at RBKs will immediately upload the matter on CMAPP (Comprehensive Monitoring Agriculture, Price and Procurement) app. This will alert officers at all levels. RBKs could then intervene and start procuring pulses and maize at the MSP.

The Markfed manager said at present, as per CMAPP statistics, black gram is being sold in the range of Rs. 7,500 to Rs. 7,899. However, five maize purchasing centres have been opened in the district while maize crop registration is going on at 61 RBKs.

Agriculture minister Kurasala Kannababu announced that black gram in 42,112 hectares and Bengal gram in 62,598 hectares have been damaged in the state. Government will help these farmers accordingly.

Meanwhile, Nivar Cyclone in East Godavari district has destroyed 369 hectares of black gram, 900 hectares maize, 100 hectares jowar, 30 hectares sunflower and 986 hectares of cotton.

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