Turmeric farmers being deprived of MSP

Turmeric farmers being deprived of MSPTurmeric farmers being deprived of MSP
Highlights

urmeric farmers in the upland mandals of the district are facing hardships due to lack of MSP and also as famine conditions are prevailing continuously for the last 3-4 years affecting the yields largely.

Nellore: Turmeric farmers in the upland mandals of the district are facing hardships due to lack of MSP and also as famine conditions are prevailing continuously for the last 3-4 years affecting the yields largely. This year cultivation area has been reduced to 2,000 acres and price of fresh turmeric has fallen to Rs 3,200 per quintal and dried one to Rs 5,200 per quintal.

Now, the crop is being grown in Udayagiri, Sitaramapuram, Marripadu, Kondapuram, Vinjamuru, Varikuntapadu, Anantasagaram, AS Pet, Atmakur, Podalakuru and Kavali areas in around 2,000 acres where farmers preferred this as an alternative to millets.

In fact, turmeric is a tropical crop and is grown both in tropical and subtropics. Open conditions exposed to the sun are very convenient for the crop, but requires humid climatic conditions. But, the region is less humid and basically rely on rainfall and for last three to four years there have been no rains.

Only 2015 witnessed rains that damaged water bodies and road and rail networks due to torrential rains. Since then, no rains are there and this upland region entirely failed to witness good rains during the last season too.

Agriculture scientists also suggest multi-cropping pattern along with turmeric but farmers never consider such advises. It can be grown along with sugarcane, chillies, onion, yam, pulses, ragi, and maize.

In some areas chillies are being grown besides tobacco. Farmers of these areas faced severe troubles cultivating millets some time ago and incurred huge losses. Now, they are taking up single crop whether it gives good bucks or pushes them into debts.

"Turmeric cultivation also requires huge investment up to Rs 1.2-1.25 lakh per acre where we have to procure seeds from other parts of the State. Still, cultivation is not encouraging due to low prices and failure of the State government for providing MSP. The price of current year is less when compared to the previous years," said K V Ramana Reddy from GC Palle in Udayagiri mandal.

Farmers say the price was around Rs 6,500 for dried turmeric and Rs. 4,000 for fresh turmeric per quintal last year and now the situation is not encouraging. Prices of crop have gradually been decreasing due to availability of crop in other parts of the region with good quality. Earlier they were getting yields of 70-80 quintals per acre and this year it reduced to 30-40 quintals.

"In 2014 also, the prices were bit comfortable at Rs 5,500 for dried and Rs. 2,500 for fresh turmeric. The situation is no better when compared to previous years. Though we have been appealing to the State government to provide MSP there has been no progress in the issue. Either we have to manage with losses or to commit suicide if the same situation continues," said TL Narayana from Basinenipalle of Sitaramapuram mandal.

Farmers are also facing difficult situation following the scandal in turmeric purchases last year where politicos involved. Further, tobacco farmers are bit happy as they are getting good prices for high grade quality this year and are hopeful of better prices for medium and low grade varieties.

This year around 3,700 farmers cultivated tobacco in around 7,500 hectares under DC Palle and Kaligiri centres of tobacco board against the approved acreage of 9,200 hectares. However, they are also facing some kind of problem with over production of low grade tobacco due to drought conditions prevailing this year.

Even though prices for high grade are good, local farmers are expecting reasonable price also for medium and low grade varieties that account for 50 per cent of total production. Now, low grade tobacco is being purchased at Rs. 100 per kilogram and farmers are asking for Rs. 120-150 per kg.

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