Tirupati: Govt's helping hand brings smiles to tomato farmers

Tomatoes being transported to pulp industry in Chittoor district.
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Tomatoes being transported to pulp industry in Chittoor district.

Highlights

  • All steps initiated to buy the crop from fields directly and send to the pulp industries
  • So far, 1,600 tonnes of tomatoes purchased as two industries have agreed to make pulp
  • Farmers are getting Rs 4 per kilo and Rs 1.20 a kg towards transportation costs

Tirupati: Giving a huge respite to the tomato growers during the pandemic, the government has initiated steps to buy the crop from the fields itself and send it to pulp industries. This will ensure remunerative prices to the farmers who otherwise had no option but to leave the crop in the fields to save at least the labour charges for harvesting.

Amid higher production and huge fall in demand due to market disruptions in this pandemic, prices of tomato have dropped to their lowest. At Madanapalle market yard, the prices vary between Rs 2-3 a kg which is now being sold at Rs 8-10 a kg in Tirupati Rythu Bazaar and other wholesale markets.

The farmers could not get their production costs and were desperately looking for remunerative prices. Farmers cultivated tomato crop in about 7,500 hectares in the western parts of Chittoor district like Madanapalle, Thamballapalle, Piler, Palamaner and Punganur mandals. Normally they expect huge prices during summer season and try to cultivate more. As a result, about 700 metric tonnes of tomato crop is coming to markets in those mandals daily.

In the normal scenario, it will be exported to states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana and Maharashtra. But, this time the exports were severely hampered with the prevailing Covid situations which had hit the farmers badly.

At this juncture, following the Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy's directions to make use of the price stabilisation fund to provide remunerative prices to tomato farmers, District Collector M Hari Narayanan held a meeting with representatives of pulp industries early this month. Following Collector's instructions, the industrialists came forward to buy tomatoes to make pulp. Accordingly, it was decided that AP Mahila Samakhya has to go to the farmer producer societies and facilitate the sending of tomatoes to pulp industries directly. AP Mahila Samakhya has to bear the transport costs. It was also decided to give Rs 4 a kg to the farmers and Rs 1.20 towards transportation costs.

So far, 1,600 metric tonnes of tomatoes were sent to two pulp industries, who agreed to procure them to make pulp.

Farmers have been expressing happiness as they get the payments directly from AP Mahila Samakhya without any involvement of middlemen. A woman farmer Rathna Kumari has expressed happiness over getting remunerative prices.

She said they cultivate the crop as it gives yield in relatively shorter time and except good prices. Though Covid shattered their aspirations, the government has extended a helping hand. Pulp industries secretary Govardhan Bobby said now, they were involved in making mango pulp.

But, following the Collector's suggestions, they agreed to make tomato pulp which will help the farmers to get remunerative prices for their crop.

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