Union Minister for Labour Bandaru Dattatreya suggested the Telangana government to procure the third and fourth quality (pickings) red chilli from farmers to provide some respite to them.
The suggestion assumes significance as a majority of crop arrivals in the market yards were stated to be of third and fourth quality.
The Centre has announced its plan of market intervention to stabilise the price of first and second quality red chilli by procuring 33,700 tonnes of the crop till May-end at ₹5,000 per quintal and another ₹1,250 per quintal assistance towards other expenses incurred by the farmers on the crop.
In a letter addressed to Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Friday, he pointed out that farmers, particularly those who cultivated chilli and turmeric, were in deep trouble due to lack of remunerative price. It was tragic that one farmer had breathed his last on the farm produce (turmeric) he brought to a market yard in Nizamabad district, he mentioned.
Stating that it was the State government that had asked the farmers to cultivate other crops in place of cotton during 2016-17, the Union Minister said the farming community had taken up chilli crop in an extent of 1.12 lakh hectares (2.8 lakh acres), which is about 15% higher than the previous year, since the market price was up to ₹12,000 per quintal. Similarly, the production had also gone up to seven lakh tonnes this year from five lakh tonnes last year, he noted.
Mr. Dattatreya said the State government could procure the inferior quality red chilli through Markfed and Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACS).
In a letter addressed to Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, Marketing Minister of Telangana T. Harish Rao said on Thursday that another three lakh tonnes of red chilli of the first two qualities was lying with farmers and the Centre should enhance the quantity of procurement to provide some relief. On turmeric crop, the Union Minister said the farmers were forced to dispose of their produce at around ₹4,000 per quintal as against ₹7,000 last year. The protest by hamalis at Kaysamudram turmeric market had also pulled the market price down since the stock which would generally be marketed there was being taken to Nizamabad. Turmeric was cultivated in 58,000 hectares this year and the production was estimated to be about 3.5 lakh tonnes.
Asking the State government to procure turmeric too from farmers to stabilise the market price, Mr. Dattatreya assured that he would take the responsibility of requesting the Centre to enhance the quantity of chilli procurement once the announced quantity was procured.