Harvest of gingelly crop has begun in the Erode district and the procurement price hovers around Rs. 100 a kg, considered remunerative by farmers cultivating the crop in Kodumudi, Arachalur, Gobichettipalayam, Bhavani and other parts of the district.
But, this time, the crop was cultivated only in places where there was groundwater source, and hence the favourable procurement price means little for the farming community. “While the price is good, the area under cultivation has dropped drastically. Had the Government released water for four wettings from the Bhavani Sagar Dam for cultivation of the crop in the Lower Bhavani Project ayacut area, over one lakh acres could have been cultivated,” said C. Nallasamy, president, Lower Bhavani Farmers’ Welfare Association.
The soil in Erode district is well suited for large-scale cultivation of the edible oilseed crop that requires less water. All four varieties, red, brown, black and white, grow well in the district. Earlier this year, the retail price of sesame breached Rs. 300 a litre. The rise was attributed to falling production. Representatives of farmers’ organisations say the area under cultivation dropped to just a few hundreds of hectares this time, due to water shortage. Oil extractors say the shortage is also because of large-scale export of the commodity, particularly the white variety.