Tamil Nadu

Tapioca growers worried

R. Ramesh of Chinnamangalam in Pachamalai holds a bunch of tapioca.— PHOTO: M. SRINATH

R. Ramesh of Chinnamangalam in Pachamalai holds a bunch of tapioca.— PHOTO: M. SRINATH  


apioca growers in and around Uppliyapuram block are at a loss this season, although they had registered a bumper harvest with higher quality because of poor returns in the market.

Pachamalai in Uppliyapuram block in the district accounts for a major area for the crop. Of 5,000 acres of land under cultivation, 4,500 acres is brought under cultivation on Pachamalai hills. Thenpuranadu, and Thalugai villages on Pachamalai are the major areas where the tribal people cultivate the local variety “kumkum rose” — called so by virtue of the colour of the tapioca.

In the plains, the crop is cultivated at Pachaperumalpatti, Kombai, and Uppliyapuram.

The brokers for sago industries in the adjoining Namakkal and Salem districts hold the key for purchasing the tapioca. These brokers fix the price for the produce and purchase it on the spot.

R. Ramesh, a farmer of Chinnamangalam village on Pachamalai, said that although he had harvested 700 bags from eight acres of his fields, he could market the produce for Rs. 250 a bag of 75 kg this year against Rs. 400 last year.

“After incurring all expenditure towards crop protection, harvest, and other overheads, I could realise just Rs. 40,000. It was a shock and surprise for me as I anticipated more attractive returns,” he said.

According to official sources, red loam soil and sandy loam soil in this block enhances the taste and quality of tapioca grown in this block. A larger area had been brought under the crop this season as compared to previous year. Against the usual 4,000 acres last year, an additional 1,000 acres of land had been added to the crop bringing it with a tally of 5,000 acres this year.

“Many farmers had switched over to tapioca because of poor rainfall. The crop does not require frequent irrigation of fields, unlike paddy,” the official told The Hindu on Monday.

She said the prices fixed by the private agents or brokers, farmers had to sell the produce to avoid any loss during post-harvest period.

Mr. Ramesh said the State government should come to the rescue of the tapioca farmers of Pachamalai. “Attractive price should be fixed for the crop. All our toil for about a year will be more meaningful only if the State government fixes a price for tapioca. Otherwise, we are under the clutches of exploitation by private dealers,” he said.

The average yield per acre stands at 12,000 kg, according to official sources. Excess production and larger area had caused bumper yield. The crop had escaped any pest attack particularly bugs this season, the officer added.

Many farmers switched to tapioca because of lack of rain

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 4:22:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tapioca-growers-worried/article7627283.ece

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