Mahadevpur farmers harvest red gold
In the wake of a spate of suicides by debt-ridden farmers in Telangana State, it is a success story which helps boost the morale of ryots. Farmers of Mahadevpur mandal are reaping good profits by cultivating red chilli extensively in thousands of acres. About 90 per cent of the farming community in the mandal is red chilli ryots.
Karimnagar: In the wake of a spate of suicides by debt-ridden farmers in Telangana State, it is a success story which helps boost the morale of ryots. Farmers of Mahadevpur mandal are reaping good profits by cultivating red chilli extensively in thousands of acres. About 90 per cent of the farming community in the mandal is red chilli ryots. Even if the perennial Godavari is nearby, the mandal cannot bank on it to meet its irrigation requirements fully as the water level in the river is low.
Despite the odds, farmers of Mahadevpur are able to reap a good harvest of 30 quintals of red chilli per acre on an average by following modern methods of cultivation. At present, the market price of red chilli is Rs 13,000 per quintal. According to an estimate, the mandal is producing red chilli worth Rs 500 crore per season.
There was a failure behind the success of Mahadevpur farmers, which made them more determined. The farmers who cultivated tobacco at the start of new millennium, incurred heavy losses. At one time, they declared a crop holiday unable to sustain losses season after season by cultivating tobacco. They slowly got attracted to another commercial crop red chilli, which has now become their mainstay.
The tenancy rate per acre in Mahadevpur is Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000, which reflects the demand for land in a remote mandal of the district. Cine producer D Ramanaidu and relatives of former chief minister N T Rama Rao cultivated land here earlier. Pendyala Manohar, a chilli farmer, said: ``Red chilli is being cultivated in about 5,000 acres in Mahadevpur. The financial position of more than 1,500 farmers in the mandal has improved after they started cultivating red chilli.’’
Mallaiah, another farmer, said: ``I cultivated red chilli in four acres this season. I achieved an average yield of 25 quintals of red chilli per acre. I am hopeful of reaping a good profit as the market price for red chilli ranges from Rs 12,500 to Rs 13,500 per quintal now.’’
Another farmer Narasaiah said: “My crop yield declined due to Gemini virus attack. When I consulted the agricultural officials, they told me that the insecticides available in the market are not effective in controlling the virus. Effective measures need to be taken to curb the spread of virus to protect the red chilli farmers from sustaining further crop loss.”