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Farmers worried as prices of commodities crash

Nagesh Prabhu
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Government goes in for market intervention to stop slide

The fall:Tomato prices have crashed and the commodity is being sold at Rs. 1 a kg in the Chikmagalur market.— File photo
The fall:Tomato prices have crashed and the commodity is being sold at Rs. 1 a kg in the Chikmagalur market.— File photo

After severe drought in the kharif season (2012), farmers are a distressed lot as prices of several commodities have crashed in wholesale markets across the State.

Prices of copra, coconut, onion, tomato, black gram and maize fell after the arrival of commodities in wholesale markets in the last few days.

Following the slide in prices, the government has directed the Karnataka Cooperative Marketing Federation and other agencies to procure commodities at minimum support prices fixed by the Centre to prevent distress sale by farmers.

Copra

Copra prices were ruling at Rs. 4,700 to Rs. 4,800 per quintal in Tiptur, the major copra market in the State. The minimum support price (MSP) fixed by the Centre for copra is Rs. 5,350 per quintal.

A Cabinet subcommittee, headed by Deputy Chief Minister K.S. Eshwarappa, which chaired a meeting on October 9, has come to the rescue of growers by deciding to grant additional support price of Rs. 700 a quintal of copra above the already existing MSP of Rs. 5,350 per quintal during 2012.

Coconut growers would get additional benefit of Rs. 7 a kg. The State government has released Rs. 5 crore to the Karnataka Cooperative Marketing Federation to procure copra at Rs. 6,050 a quintal. It has been decided to procure 75,000 quintals of copra under the market intervention scheme of the State.

Each coconut farmer can supply only 10 quintals of copra to the procurement agency to get additional support price (Rs. 700), federation officials told The Hindu on Friday. The federation has procured 53,000 quintals of copra at Rs. 5,350 a quintal. It would handover procured copra to the National Agriculture Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED).

Coconut

The price for coconut has been fixed at Rs. 1,400 per quintal. The price crashed to Rs. 1,000 a quintal in Chamarajangar district. A growers’ society has been procuring coconuts in the district.

In Chamarajanagar district, coconut plantations are spread over 11,500 hectares and it produces 12.42 lakh coconuts a year. The Deputy Commissioner of Chamarajnagar has been instructed to procure coconut at an MSP of Rs. 1,400 a quintal.

Onion

The Cabinet sub-committee has fixed the onion price at Rs. 360 a quintal. Onion crop was grown on 22,299 hectares in the State in the 2012 kharif season. Expecting fall in the prices of onion this year also, the government decided to intervene in the market and fixed the price at Rs. 360 a quintal, the officials said.

The price of ‘A’ grade onion is fixed at Rs. 760 a quintal, ‘B’ grade at Rs. 560 a quintal and ‘C’ grade at Rs. 360 a quintal.

The deputy commissioners, who are also heading district task forces, have been told to open procurement centres to purchase the commodity from growers.

Tomato

Tomato prices have crashed and farmers have been staging protests by throwing their produce on roads in Chikmagalur district. Tomatoes are being sold at Rs. 1 a kg in Chikmagalur market. The committee has fixed the tomato price at Rs. 250 a quintal. Deputy Commissioners have been instructed to procure tomatoes though HOPCOMS.

Black gram

The falling prices of black gram have left farmers worried in Gulbarga and Bidar districts. The State Federation has been told to procure it at an MSP of Rs. 4,400 a quintal. The grain is selling between Rs. 2,900 and Rs. 3,300 per quintal at the APMC yards in both districts.

Prices of maize crashed below MSP of Rs. 1,190 per quintal in Shimoga, Davangere, Haveri, Chitradurga and Belgaum districts, the officials said.

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