Growers in Prakasam urge market intervention by the Central and State marketing agencies

Bengal gram farmers in Prakasam district are in deep trouble as the premier pulse crop in the district traded with a negative bias in the National Commodities Exchange.

''Two months after harvest there are no takers for our produce. We are saddled with 20 lakh quintals of hybrid Kak 2 and Mexican bold varieties during this season'', lamented the farmers who thronged the collectorate from all over the district to plead their case with the district administration for market intervention by the Central and the State marketing agencies on Tuesday.

Leading the protest, Andhra Pradesh Rythu Sangam District Secretary N.Ranga Rao said with the government encouraging cultivation of the export-oriented pulse crop, the farmers switched over from tobacco, cotton and other crops, expecting a good return this year. But their hopes were dashed.

With the agri-commodity trading weak, the farmers decided to go in a delegation to New Delhi on May 6 to seek the intervention of Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma to impose anti-dumping duties on imported Channa and take proactive steps to boost export of the pulse crop, explained Mr Rao.

APRS Bengal gram growers committee secretary Paritala Venkata Chowdhary recalled that the Andhra Pradesh Seeds Corporation had purchased the hybrid seeds from farmers at Rs. 7,500 per quintal last year to promote the pulse crop as an alternative to tobacco and constructed cold storage units providing a subsidy of Rs 1.20 crore to each of them.

The price of the premium variety of the pulse crop, mostly exported to West Asian and European countries, was at Rs. 5,400 per quintal at the beginning of the year, added APRS district vice-president K.Ramakoteswara Rao.

However, it had tumbled to Rs 3,200 per quintal earlier this month.

The situation had turned from bad to worse with no buyers even at Rs. 3,000 per quintal at a time when the cost of cultivation had increased by 20 per cent this year, a farmer Muppala Suresh said.

The area under Bengal gram rose to three lakh acres during Rabi as farmers were forced to switch over to irrigated dry crop under the Nagarjunasagar command areas due to dwindling storage in the Nagarjunasagar reservoir and no scope for raising Paddy, explained another farmer Badi. Sankaraiah.

The district administration should impress upon the Union and the State governments to rescue the growers, yet another farmer I Lakshmana Rao added.

  • Farmers to go in a delegation to New Delhi on May 6

  • To seek anti-dumping duties on imported Channa

  • Growers seek market intervention by the government agencies to provide relief