Price distress causes agony to mango farmers in Chittoor

Price distress causes agony to mango farmers in Chittoor

  • Traders and pulp industries not paying minimum price fixed by Tirupati and Chittoor Collectors
  • While the minimum price is fixed at Rs 30,000, farmers are getting Rs 20,000 to Rs 24,000 only

Tirupati: Mango farmers in Chittoor district are facing severe distress as they struggle to secure support price for their produce. Despite official directives from both the Chittoor and Tirupati Collectors, which set the minimum price at Rs 30,000 per tonne, farmers are at the mercy of traders.

These traders have formed a syndicate, dictating prices significantly below the mandated rate. This manipulation has left farmers in a precarious financial position, unable to cover their costs or earn a fair profit.

The situation has sparked widespread discontent among the farming community, who feel betrayed by the system meant to protect their interests. Many farmers have invested heavily in their mango orchards, predominantly of Totapuri variety, expecting reasonable returns.

However, they experienced a drastic drop in yield this year, receiving only 10-20 per cent of their usual harvest. With soaring demand due to poor supplies, they hoped for good prices. Instead, the traders’ cartel has forced them to sell at prices far below the government-mandated minimum.

Initially, prices started at Rs 28,000 per tonne this season but gradually fell to Rs 22,000 per tonne, with some farmers selling for as low as Rs 20,000. A farmer revealed that traders from neighbouring Karnataka and Tamil Nadu initially offered Rs 28,000 for Totapuri mangoes. Soon, local traders and pulp industries formed a syndicate, preventing others from buying the mangoes and significantly cutting prices.

When the issue was brought to the attention of Chittoor and Tirupati district Collectors, they held deliberations with horticulture and marketing officials in their districts and fixed the minimum price at Rs 30,000 per tonne for Totapuri variety. However, the pulp industries and traders did not adhere to this, making it clear to farmers that the price would not be increased.

Farmers believe that Rs 30,000 per tonne is a reasonable price considering the costs of labour, fertilisers and transport and even Rs 28,000 per tonne could be accepted. Any price lower than that would cause them severe financial trouble.

A farmer Venkata Ramana commented that some traders are billing Totapuri mangoes at Rs 20,000 per tonne and deducting 12 per cent for various expenditures. These traders have opened large collection centres, deceiving farmers without any control from horticulture or marketing departments.

As the district experiences significant rainfall, farmers worry about potential crop damage, which is already threatened by various diseases. Meanwhile, BJP leaders have submitted a memorandum to Chittoor district Collector S Shan Mohan, seeking to fix the minimum price at Rs 35,000. Chittoor MP D Prasada Rao emphasised the need to support mango farmers and urged the Collector to ensure the minimum price of Rs 30,000 per tonne is upheld. He also appealed to pulp industries to follow the Collector’s directives, considering the farmers’ plight.

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