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Updated: February 22, 2014 12:11 IST

Bengal gram growers in distress as price plummets

Staff Reporter
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A farmer showing his Bengal gram produce in Ongole. Photo: Kommuri Srinivas
The Hindu A farmer showing his Bengal gram produce in Ongole. Photo: Kommuri Srinivas

Steady supplies of new crop push price below MSP in Prakasam

Bengal gram growers in Prakasam district are in for more trouble as price of the principal commercial crop in the district plummeted to below the Rs. 3,000 per quintal mark on Friday in view of on higher domestic production estimate coupled with steady supplies of new crop.

The Market Intervention Scheme announced by the State government to purchase both desi and hybrid varieties at Rs. 3,500 per quintal, has remained a non-starter with the district administration bogged down in differentiating farmers and traders who put together had stored in cold storage units 11.50 lakh quintals of produce.

On Friday, Bengal gram attracted buyers only at Rs. 2,985 with steady supplies of new crop in the local market thanks to bumper product in the wake of favourable climatic condition.

The State Government has sanctioned Rs 75 crore and released Rs 50 crore for the purpose, the Marketing Department sources said, adding that Rs 350 crore would be required to lift the entire stocks. Bengal gram growers under the banner of the All India Kisan Sabha at a meeting held here decided to picket the Collectorate on February 24, said AIKS Central Council member N.Ranga Rao. “An AIKS delegation will go in a delegation to Hyderabad on Monday to impress upon Marketing Principal Secretary Dasari Srinivasulu to begin procurement with allotted funds to remove the glut in the market,” its district Secretary D.Gopinath said.

Projected as an alternative to tobacco in view of health hazards, the ryots took to Bengal gram cultivation in a big way with the principal pulse crop fetched them Rs.7,500 per quintal in 2011-12 during then, recalled AIKS-led Bengal gram Growers Association District Secretary K. Ramakoteswara Rao.

Cold storage

Even as the price declined to Rs. 5,000 per quintal, the ryots put their produce in the cold storage paying Rs. 150 per quintal last year hoping that the market will recover sooner or later, its Vice-President K.Nageswara Rao said, adding ''but we now rue our fate with the market crashing to a new low at a time when the cost of cultivation has being going up year after year. The Government should come to our rescue.”

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