At a time when arecanut growers are reeling owing to slump in the price of the produce and decline in the yield due to drought, the Union government’s decision to keep arecanut out of the purview of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY)has come as a bolt from the blue.
The crop is grown in around 50,000 hectares in the district.
The price of a kilo of arecanut, which was Rs. 900 in August 2014, has come down to Rs.260 now.
The crop in more than 600 hectares was damaged last year owing to moisture stress caused by drought.
K.T. Gangadhar, working president of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, has slammed the decision taken by the Center to keep arecanut out of the purview of PMKSY.
In wake of the slump in the price, the growers had urged the Union government to announce a minimum support price for the produce.
Water storage in the Bhadra, the Tunga, the Anjanapura and the Ambligolla reservoirs in the district is at an expected level this year owing to sluggish monsoon.
The arecanut growers in the district were expecting financial assistance from the government through PMKSY and other schemes to make proper utilization of surface and ground water and thereby save their crops. He demanded that the Center roll back the decision.
Mr. Gangadhar said that the Center has extended a step motherly treatment towards arecanut growers for many years.
The recommendations of Gorakh Singh panel to waive loans borrowed by arecanut growers, in financial distress due to crop loss caused by yellow leaf disease and other pest and fungal infections, have not been implemented yet, he said.
B.A. Ramesh Hegde, president of the Zilla Adike Belegarara Sangha, an organisation of arecanut growers, said that more than 1.10 lakh tonnes of arecanut have been imported this year so far owing to which the price of local produce has declined.
The arecanut growers from Karnataka had requested Union Minister for Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman to impose restrictions on the import of arecanut, but no action has been taken in this regard so far.
Mr. Hegde said that there is a rain deficit of around 35 per cent in the district this year.
Under PMKSY, funding is provided to adopt precision-irrigation technologies, avoid reduction in water wastage and for watershed development works.
Likely to increase
The cases of decline in the yield and damage due to moisture stress is likely to increase in the summer.
As drought is prevailing in the district for the second consecutive year, government programs like PMKSY are necessary to save the arecanut plantations, he said.
The sangh will stage protests if the Center fails to roll back the decision on PMKSY, headed.
in a nutshell
Crop in more than 600 hectares was damaged last year owing to moisture stress
Price also declined after more than 1.10 lakh tonnes of arecanut were imported
Farmers had urged Center to announce minimum support price
‘Sangh will stage protests if the Center fails to roll back decision on PMKSY’