The MARKFED intervened in the market on Wednesday to provide some relief to Bengal gram growers hit hard by the adverse market condition.
Inaugurating the market intervention operation at the Ongole Cold Storage here, Prakasam Joint Collector K.Y.Naik exhorted ryots to liquidate their stocks taking advantage of the scheme launched with Rs. 50 crore provided by the State government.
MARKFED district manager E. Sanjeeva Reddy said 60.5 quintals of Bengal gram was procured on the inaugural day. “We will procure from peasants without any interruption till February 15 directly from the cold storage units to save on loading and unloading charges as also transportation cost,” he said.
Ongole Market Committee chairman Aiynabathina Ganasyam said each farmer would get a benefit of Rs. 500 to Rs. 700 per quintal thanks to the initiative of the State government.
While growers of the Desi variety would get Rs. 700 per quintal over and above the market price, those who grew the exportable KAK-II variety would additionally get Rs. 500 with the State government fixing a support price at Rs. 3,500 per quintal, he added.
“Farmers, who were encouraged to grow Bengal gram as an alternative to tobacco in view of health hazards were saddled with over 14 lakh quintals of produce in the wake of import of the principal crop from abroad under the World Trade Organisation regime, Andhra Pradesh Rytu Sangham district secretary D.Gopinath. He urged the State government to extend the market intervention scheme beyond February 15 and also procure the carryover stock of over one lakh quintals of the produce in 2011-12 season.
The farmers have taken up Bengal gram cultivation in a big way as the pulse crop fetched Rs.7,500 per quintal in 2011-12 during then. Even as the price declined to Rs. 5000 per quintal, they put their produce in the cold storage paying Rs. 150 per quintal anticipating that the price would go up further.
“The government should enhance the price to at least Rs. 4,000 for us to at least break even, leave alone making profits,” said a peasant Anjaneyulu who brought his 200 quintals of loose stock to the cold storage for sale.