Farmers who cultivated black gram during Rabi are in a quandary with nobody to purchase their produce. While the leguminous crop is grown in about 2 lakh acres in the second crop in Krishna district it was grown in 4.10 lakh acres this year.
Not only was the crop grown in a larger area the yield too was almost double. While the normal average yield was two to three bags (quintals) an acre, the yield per acre ranged between 4 and 5.5 bags an acre in this season.
Disposing of black gram for a remunerative price is foremost on the minds of the farmers.
Though the Agriculture Department is in no way concerned, the department officials are direct targets of the farmers’ wrath at the ‘Rythu Chaitanya Sadasulu’ being conducted in the district.
Whatever might be the objective of the awareness meetings, the burning topic was brought up by one farmer or another and then there was total chaos, the officers said. The opening and then subsequent closing of a black gram purchase centre at Vuyyuru by Markfed was like rubbing salt into the wound.
Deputy Director of Agriculture Balu Nayak said the yield of black gram had doubled because of some unexpected rain.
Farmers on their own, stop after two wettings for black gram because there was not much water available. But this time the crop thrived due to rain, he said.
Mr Nayak said farmers were demanding more purchase centres in the Rythu Chaitanya Sadasulu.
Andhra Pradesh Kisan Services Association district general secretary P.S.R.Das said no purchases were being made at the minimum price of Rs 4,300 at which a quintal of black gram was purchased at the Markfed counter opened at Vuyyuru. The acreage under black gram increased because many farmers could not sow paddy for want of water during the Khariff.
Farmers were selling black gram for Rs 4,000 a quintal and there was a chance of the price going down even further, Mr Das said.
Three purchase counters at Mudinepalli, Gudivada and Pamarru, in addition to the one at Vuyyuru were required, Mr Das said.
The farmers would be forced to agitate if no steps were taken to bail them out of the crisis. The State government, however, has no obligation to purchase black gram like paddy, he said.
Only the Central government could initiate market intervention programmes to buoy up the prices, the officials said.