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Turmeric, ginger farmers demand better prices

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Tribal organic cultivators of turmeric and ginger in Kandhamal district of Odisha held a demonstration at Daringbadi on Monday demanding that the government assures proper procurement price for their produce to end distress sale and exploitation at hands of traders.

Peasants from all parts of Kandhamal district took part in a rally at Daringbadi. A public meeting was also held to highlight problems of these poor farmers. This rally was attended by national committee member of peasants’ organisation All-India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha (AIKMS), Bhala Chandra Sarangi, convenor of Banavasi Surakshya Parishad, Narendra Mohanty and peasant leaders of the district.

They demanded the government to come up with a procurement mechanism through which the farmers could be ensured to sell their turmeric produce at Rs.200 per kg and ginger at Rs.100 per kg. At present these traditional organic cultivators are compelled to sell their turmeric at Rs.40 to 70 and ginger at Rs.10 to 20 rupees per kilo. It is an irony that a few years back these peasants were selling their turmeric at Rs.150 per kilo, said Mr Sarangi alleging that the present fall in procurement price has occurred due to a nefarious link between officials and traders.

Till now these traditional organic turmeric and ginger cultivators are not getting agricultural loans at lower interest. They wanted low interest loans from nationalised banks and cooperative institutions. Mr Mohanty alleged that earlier cooperatives like Auxiliary Marketing Cooperative Society of Tikabali, Tribal Development Cooperative Corporation, KASAM used to procure organic turmeric and ginger from tribal farmers. But the process has almost stopped now. Establishment of cold storages and renovation of existing godowns for storage of organic turmeric and ginger produce to end distress sell was also demanded. Demonstrators handed over a memorandum addressed to Odisha CM and Kandhamal collector at the office of Daringbadi Block Development officer regarding their problems and demands.

For generations traditional organic cultivation of turmeric and ginger continues in Kandhamal district. Till now these cultivators have refrained from using chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Their organic produce has much demand outside Kandhamal district, including foreign countries. But the tribal peasants who grow them do not get proper price for their yield.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2019 1:59:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/turmeric-ginger-farmers-demand-better-prices/article8406914.ece

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