Cabbage farmers have been facing stiff competition from their counterparts in Karnataka. Several farmers are leaving the crop in fields to become mulch

Cabbage farmers of Krishna district are facing stiff competition from their counterparts in Karnataka. The plummeting prices at the market and increased acreage with bumper crop in Karnataka are causes of concern. The farmers are planning to leave the crop as mulch to save further expenditure.

Cabbage was cultivated in over 1,000 acres in Kankipadu, Thotlavaluru and Vuyyuru mandals. The duration in which the crop matures is four months. The cost of cultivating the crop varies from Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 an acre, but the return per acre currently was about Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000.

A cabbage farmer from China Ogirala in Vuyyuru Mandal, Donepudi Sivaji, told The Hindu that the cost of cultivation went up because of Diamondback Moth, more popularly called Cabbage Moth.

Farmers were attracted to cabbage because in December the crop fetched between Rs 70,000 and Rs 80,000 an acre. The cabbage can be cultivated only in the winter in Krishna district. Seedlings are sown in the middle of August and the season comes to a close by the end of April. In Karnataka, because of cooler climate the crop could be cultivated throughout the year. The sowing of cabbage increased in Karnataka also this year because the crop fetched up to Rs 1 lakh an acre last year.

The increase in sowing of the crop both in Krishna district and in Karnataka led to a crash in price, Mr Sivaji said.

With the prices crashing, many of the farmers have left the crop in the fields to become mulch and improve the fertility at least for the next crop. The cost of harvesting, packing and transportation was as high as Rs 800 per tonne. “The farmers are leaving the crop in the field because even the cost of harvesting and shipping would not be realised,” Mr Sivaji said.