Farmers stage protest seeking remunerative price

Peram Prasada Rao from Ramaraogudem under the Denduluru mandal of West Godavari district preferred to abandon his green chilli crop in his fields itself instead of harvesting it for marketing. For, the returns he will receive from the crop are not sufficient to pay even wages to the workers engaged for plucking and grading of the produce.

The price quoted by middlemen is not crossing Rs. 3 per kg even as it is priced at Rs 20 in the market outside. “I need to engage three workers by paying a daily wage of Rs 100 each for harvesting a 60 kg bag of green chilli. And, the produce will not fetch me more than Rs 300. Then, what is the point in me taking all the pains,” asks Mr. Prasada Rao.

He is bound to pay Rs 25,000 as lease for each acre. In addition, he has invested Rs 38,000 on mirchi cultivation in six acres. The market vagaries left him in debts amounting to Rs 1.25 lakh which he raised from private lenders at Rs. 2 interest.

All the mirchi farmers from the upland village of Ramaraogudem are literally in tears because of the market fluctuations. Green chilli of certain species is raised in 900 acres in this village. The mirchi farmers from the village staged a demonstration at the office of the Agricultural department seeking remunerative prices for the produce.

Green chilli, which is chiefly used in curries, is a perishable crop by nature and the growers cannot preserved it in cold storage plants as is the case of red chilli waiting for a favourable market environment.

Glut in the market

An officer from the Agriculture department said the green chilli farmers tend to flood the market with the produce at a time, leading to a glut and price crash.

The Andhra Pradesh Rytu Sangham leader K. Srinivas, however, wanted the government to initiate steps for price stabilisation by eliminating middlemen in the process of procurement.