The agri-market is characterised by fluctuating fortunes with the prices ruling low at the time of harvest and skyrocketing when the stocks are exhausted.
Progressive farmers in Inkollu area, where commercial crops are grown extensively, especially the export quality varieties of Bengal gram, store their produce in cold storage units that have mushroomed in the area over the years, and also take to online marketing to fetch a better price for their produce from upcountry traders.
A group of farmers, busy browsing commodities trading portal, say that they make it a point to shift the export quality varieties like KAK2 and Mexican Bold variety of chickpea to cold storage units soon after harvest. “They get quotes from several traders from north India by showing the produce online from the cold storage itself and complete the sale if the price offered is remunerative,” says D. Srinivasa Rao, who grows Bengal gram.
After assessing the arrivals from countries like Australia, Canada etc., they predict the future price of the pulse crop before deciding on the extent of land to be sown in a particular year, says another progressive farmer T. Srinivasulu at the state-run Agriculture Market centre in the village.
Thanks to remunerative price for Bengal gram last year, farmers who have been traditionally growing tobacco had switched over to the pulse crop.
As a result, the extent of legume crop has soared to an all-time high of 1.07 lakh hectares, agriculture officials here said.
However, the average farmer is not enthusiastic over online marketing, as big corporate agri-marketing companies rule the roost. Andhra Pradesh Rythu Sangam leader in Inkollu K. Koteswara Rao feels that it is the big corporates which make a killing purchasing the produce from farmers at the time of harvest at a throwaway price and make huge profits in the process.
Unless the Union and State governments intervene whenever the market price falls below the Minimum Support Price, farmers will not be able to continue in the profession. Import of chick pea is also adding to farmers woes, he adds.
Meanwhile, the Agriculture Market Committee began market intervention operation. “JJ11(local vareity of chick pea) is purchased at ₹3,600 per quintal from farmers with certificate from the agriculture officer concerned subject to a ceiling of 25 quintals per farmer,” says Inkollu AMC Chairman Ch. Ramakrishna. The State government should lift the ceiling and purchase the entire produce from the farmers, opines APRS district secretary P. Venkat Rao.