AP Turmeric Farmers Association seeks a development board for the crop

The sharp downward trend in market price of turmeric has forced the farmers of Adilabad district and the State into a deep crisis. “Farmers stand to lose a whopping Rs. 80,000 per acre unless the Union government intervenes,” says K. Narasimham Naidu, founder president of the AP Turmeric Farmers Association (APTFA).

The price slump in the market since the last two years has literally put a halt on the expansion of the acreage of this commercial crop in Adilabad.

At present, turmeric is cultivated in about 10,000 hectares in eight Godavari-belt mandals which contributes 10 per cent of the over 4 lakh quintals of the turmeric produced in the State, whose share in the country's production stands at nearly 30 per cent.

Unviable

“The nine-month crop needs an investment of about Rs. 1.5 lakh per acre for getting a yield of nearly 17 quintals. With the average market price hovering around Rs. 4,500 per quintal, the crop has been rendered almost unviable commercially,” Nizamabad-based Mr. Naidu says, quoting statistics to buttress his point of view.

MSP sought

The APTFA, which is spearheading an agitation of turmeric farmers in the State, has demanded the Central government to fix the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for the crop and set up a turmeric development board on the lines of the Spices Board. “The government earns over Rs.1,500 crore every year through exports of turmeric which should be reason enough for it to give the needed thrust to the sector,” Mr. Naidu says.

‘Turmeric ignored’

“At present, turmeric is looked after, or rather ignored, by the Spices Board. The Spices Board spends only about Rs.3 crore of its total budgets of Rs. 350 crore on turmeric development,” he points out.

He further says that establishment of a turmeric development board would take care of marketing of the produce which is one of the major irritants for farmers of Adilabad, who take their produce to Nizamabad market.