Bumper garlic produce fails to make Hadauti farmers happy

By Times Of India on 27 May 2018 | read
KOTA: It is for the second year in a row that the farmers of the Hadauti region have recorded a bumper garlic produce, which has failed to bring smiles on their faces. Despite the bumper garlic produce of about 8 lakh metric tons in the region, which includes the districts of Kota, Bundi, Baran and Jhalawar, the farmers are an unhappy lot. The government has started the procurement under the Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) at the price of Rs 3,257 but set a low purchase target. Initially the purchase target was 1.54 metric ton, which was further brought down to 1.28 metric ton.
The rates for garlic in the open market are as low as Rs 200 and goes upto Rs 1,000 per quintal - which has left the debt-ridden farmers depressed and worried. Three farmers, having failed to get a good price for their produce, have committed suicide since April.

The situation is not much different from last year when the produce was nearly as much and a delayed and low procurement by the state government, only added to the plight of the farmers in the region. Only 650 quintals of garlic were procured by the government last year.

According to date by state horticulture department, eight lakh metric tons of garlic in the current season has been produced in the region, where garlic cultivation is not a traditional crop here. For the past few years, farmers here who earlier cultivated soya beans, shifted to garlic when a good season. Initially all went well, and more and more farmers cultivated garlic; only to find that there were no longer any takers.

The state government ordered to purchase garlic produce at its centres from April 12 but amid the apathy and mismanagement, purchase could be started from April 27 and in last one month, a little more than one percent garlic could be purchased at these centres.

“Garlic produce of 91760.50 quintals (over 9000 metric ton) have been purchased so far at 12 purchase centres in four district of Hadauti region,” admits Rajasthan State Co-Operative Marketing Federation Ltd. (RAJFED) quality control officer at Kota Tej Singh. The purchase would at government centres would continue till May 31, he added.

Farmers bodies in Hadauti accused the state government of being insensitive towards woes of the garlic cultivators’ woes. “The delay and the slow-paced purchase at centres along with inadequate arrangements of transportation, storage shows how insensitive government is. Low purchase target against the bumper produce of garlic yield and the little quantity of garlic purchased so far in last one month clearly signifies state government’s cold attitude towards the farmers,” said Faithachand Bagla, farmers’ union leader in Kota.

Gross irregularities and mismanagement exist at four purchase centres in Baran as the garlic cultivators reaching here either have to wait for days for their turn or have to get back home crestfallen with produce, alleged Panachand Meghwal, a former MLA from Baran.

“Only one of the four purchase centres is operational for a day as only one surveyor is deputed for all the four. Around 50,000 garlic cultivators through online registration have been allotted tokens but only 28,000 cultivators have got their turn while the last date for purchase at centres is nearing,” he further said.

Garlic cultivators, in absence of fair price of their produce, have been committing suicide in Hadauti region for last two years but state government has not announced ex gratia for anyone yet.