Nothing to show:Farmers Yerranna and Doddabasavana Gouda of Chellagurki village in Bellary say they cannot shift to alternative crops because of blackbuck menace.
- M. AHIRAJ
Farmers in Bellary taluk who sowed Bengal gram are in a dilemma over harvesting the crop because of the crash in the market price and yield.
As a rabi crop, Bengal gram is cultivated on 61,080 hectares in the district, of which 50 per cent of the acreage is in Bellary taluk. Of the 31,810 hectares in Bellary taluk, around 17,000 hectares falls under the rain-fed area. It is here that the crop loss has occurred due to failure of follow-up post monsoon rains.
“We experienced heavy showers with the onset of post-monsoon, which risen our hopes of getting a good yield at least this year after experiencing drought for the past three years. But to our ill luck, the follow-up rains failed. As a result the growth of the crop was severely affected and also the yield,” Yerranna, a farmer, told The Hindu .
He said the cost of cultivation was around 9,000 per acre. The normal anticipated yield was around seven to eight bags per acre. But due to failure of rain, the yield was expected to be around two bags per acre.
“Such being the situation, we are in a dilemma whether to harvest the crop or not. For, we are not sure whether we would be able to recover the cost incurred for the harvest. We have to pay Rs. 100 for plucking three rows of plant while the expected yield is very less. Apart from that, the market price has also crashed considerably and we would not be getting anything,” said Mr. Yerranna.
The experience of farmers in Joladrashi, Chellagurki, Veerapur, Rupanagudi and surrounding places is the same, said K.M. Doddabasavana Gouda, another farmer. “Cultivating Bengal gram has become one way. There is only investment but no returns,” he said.
Mr. Gouda said farmers could not go for alternative crop because of blackbuck “menace”. “Blackbucks eat coriander, safflower and other rabi crops. They tend to nibble tender leaves of Bengal gram, too, in the initial stage, but would avoid them when the leaves develop sourness. With a little bit of watch and ward in the initial stage, we can protect the crop,” he said.
The farmers met Minister for Agriculture Krishna Byregowda during his recent visit to Bellary and urged him to survey the extent of crop loss and initiate the process of giving suitable compensation. They also urged the minister to announce a minimum support price to Bengal gram to protect the cultivators from suffering huge losses.