Lack of market facility a bane to farmers

S. Harpal Singh
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No access to agricultural markets force farmers to sell their produce at a reduced price

Sad state of affairs:Farmers selling cotton to unlicensed traders in Koutala mandal.— PHOTO: S. HARPAL SINGH
Sad state of affairs:Farmers selling cotton to unlicensed traders in Koutala mandal.— PHOTO: S. HARPAL SINGH

One of the most important but least attended reason for Adilabad’s backwardness and poverty is its dire lack of marketing facility for its agriculture produce coming from remote and interior areas. Hundreds of unscrupulous traders and businessmen have made their millions taking advantage of this fact and hundreds more are in the process of making their way into such business.

Crops underweighted

The difficulty in accessing agricultural markets forces small and marginal farmers from far-flung areas to sell their produce, cotton included, at a reduced price to unlicensed traders. The farmers, who invariably go throughgreater odds to raise crops, also get cheated as their crops are underweighted by traders who use scales that may be of dubious calibration.

Cotton, the minimum support price for which is Rs.3,900 per quintal, is being purchased at Rs.3,500 to Rs.3,600. This may not seem much considering the saving made on transportation but the produce being underweighted, usually by about 5 kg, could inflict huge loss on the helpless farmers.

Impractical scheme

There are 17 Agriculture Market Committee (AMC) yards in the district which are supposed to cover all the 52 mandals. The scheme looks practical on paper but is impractical in actuality.

For example, the catchment area of Kagaznagar AMC yard comprises of Kagaznagar, Sirpur (T), Koutala, Bejjur and Dahegaon mandals. Bejjur, the farthest of mandals, is over 70 km away and the utterly bad condition of roads certainly deters farmers from directly accessing the Kagaznagar AMC.

This AMC, like others situated in Asifabad, Wankidi, Narnoor, Khanapur, Chennur, Jainoor, Hasnapur etc, witnesses transactions only in cotton. Even this cotton is brought to the market yard by petty traders who purchase it from the poor farmers in faraway villages.

The most disadvantaged among the poor farmers are the ones who cultivate food grains and pulses. Though the pulses and food grains like jowar and maize are sown in about 90,000 hectares, not even one kilogram is traded in the market yards.

Among food grains, only paddy is traded in AMCs and that too when government agencies are making the purchases. The government has opened a purchase centre at Bhainsa AMC for black gram this season, but the performance leaves much to be desired.



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