Farmers in Nellore district are making hay while the sun shines as the market price of paddy has gone up thanks to high demand for non-basmati rice from abroad.
A majority of the farmers went for a crop holiday during the summer owing to depressed market condition during the kharif and rabi seasons. Enterprising farmers who went for Edagaru crop during the summer are raking in the moolah now.
Millers and traders from East Godavari and West Godavari districts are making repeated visits to farms in Nellore district to procure the freshly-harvested paddy even as the produce is wet after harvest.
The farmers faced problems in selling paddy during rabi due to relatively high moisture content in their produce as the millers took additional 10% more paddy on this count then.
The irrigation authorities gave a green signal for growing paddy in 4.50 lakh acres during the summer with the major reservoirs—Somasila and Kandaleru—brimming. However, the farmers sowed paddy only in more than 60,000 acres.
Happy with the market price going up to ₹15,000 per putti (one putti is equal to 850 kg), the farmers are able to offset the losses to some extent, a group of farmers in Buchireddipalem said.
The harvest is yet to start in full scale. A majority of the farmers had sold paddy to private traders for a mere ₹12,000 per putti as against the minimum support price of ₹16,600 during rabi as only one-third of the produce came under the purview of the market intervention scheme. They were also forced to part with additional paddy in view of excess moisture content.
However, they are not sure how long the buoyant market condition will continue and what would be the situation when the harvesting reaches the peak. They are also unsure over the impact of the Union government’s announcement of 20% export duty on non-Basmati rice except for parboiled rice to boost domestic supplies in the wake of a fall in paddy acreage in the current kharif season.
The State government should direct the Rythu Bharosa Kendras (RBKs) to intervene in the market as in the past to avoid a drastic fall in the market price in the coming days, said Andhra Pradesh Federation of Farmers’ Association President Ch. Koti Reddy.
He pressed for early clearance of the dues to the tune of over ₹20 crore to farmers for the paddy procured during rabi season as also Hamali and transport charges of another ₹20 crore.