With the hybrid varieties of Bengal gram showing no signs of recovery, growers of the principal commercial crop in Prakasam district are gearing up for stirs to put pressure on the Union and State Governments to come to their rescue.
The farmers in the drought-prone district have been traditionally growing tobacco, accounting for 50 per cent of the production in the country. But with growing awareness on health hazards and The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control determined to phase out tobacco cultivation, the ryots took to Bengal gram cultivation in a big way as the pulse crop can withstand moisture stress.
Now the growers are in big trouble saddled with over 15 lakh tonnes of hybrid varieties of Bengal gram, including KAK2 and Mexican bold variety mainly due to import of the cheaper Bengal gram from Australia and other countries. This apart, there is reduced demand for the pulse crop grown in the country, in overseas markets, including those in the Gulf countries, the main consuming nations, said Andhra Pradesh Rythu Sangam District Secretary D.Gopinath, talking to The Hindu .
“We will hold a meeting to bring together ryots cutting across party lines on October 25 to get ready for a do-or-die battle. We say there is no hope without market intervention by NAFED and MARKFED,” said APRS-affiliated APRS Bengal gram growers committee secretary Paritala Venkata Chowdhary.
Farmers are now saddled with over 15 lakh tonnes of hybrid varieties of Bengal gram due to import of cheaper varieties from Australia and other countries