Andhra Pradesh

Sweet lime turns bitter for growers in Andhra Pradesh

Farm hands grading sweet lime for loading onto the lorries at Mukundapuram in Anantapur district on Tuesday. While water shortage hit the farmers last year, this year despite good yield, there is no demand due to the pandemic.

Farm hands grading sweet lime for loading onto the lorries at Mukundapuram in Anantapur district on Tuesday. While water shortage hit the farmers last year, this year despite good yield, there is no demand due to the pandemic.   | Photo Credit: R.V.S. PRASAD

Despite good yield, COVID-19 casts a shadow on its sales

The sweet lime growers in Mukundapuram are in a deep trouble despite the yield being very good due to continuous availability of irrigation water, as COVID-19 cast a shadow on sales of the most sought-after fruit for instant recharge with its juice during summer.

Grown in over 2,000 acres in this village alone in Garladinne mandal, which has one of the largest chunks of land dedicated for this crop, farmers were buoyant after failure of the crop in 2018 and 2019 due to shortage of irrigation water. Sweet lime, which was sold up to ₹60,000 a tonne in May 2019, is now being sold at ₹6,000 to ₹8,000 a tonne. By a very conservative estimate, if the farmer gets ₹18,000 to ₹20,000 per tonne, he can recover his investment.

Plucking of the fruits begins by February-end and gets completed by April-end, but a visit to the farms in the third week of May showed more than 50% of the yield still on the plants as farmers do not find buyers due to lack of demand from northern States. Some farmers, to retrieve some money from their investment, are selling it at the farm for ₹10,000 a tonne.

Several representations to Member of Parliament Talari Rangaiah, MLA Jonnalagadda Padmavathy and District Collector Gandham Chandrudu did not result in any action so far to transport or open the marketing channels, laments Kambagiri Ramudu, who had grown sweet lime in 10 acres.

The other day (last week) a farmer from the village, Nagaraju, spoke to the Chief Minister during a video conference on ‘Rythu Bharosa’ high about the government schemes and availability of water painting a rosy picture, but did not raise the problematic issue, opine other farmers in the village.

Corona threat

Traders from Sirivella in Kurnool district are the regulars at this village, but they are absent in the wake of high number of COVID-19 cases in that district and closure of Hyderabad and Bengaluru markets. Majority of the growers lost the plantation in hundreds of trees in 2019 due to lack of water.

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 11:59:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/sweet-lime-turns-bitter-for-growers-in-andhra-pradesh/article31627123.ece

Next Story