Sorghum farmers in soup

By TheHindu on 19 Mar 2017 | read

The fate of the red sorghum (jowar) farmers looks like is sealed by traders who are said to have formed a cartel to prevent competition and control its price. As a result, the farming community which produced the crop with tonnes of hopes, is upset with the low price in the market.

The price of the crop is reportedly the same as last year, but its input costs have increased several times pushing farmers into losses.

Since the farmers cannot afford to keep their produce in cold storage and even the facility is sparsely available in the area, they are forced to sell it away at a throwaway price immediately after the harvest.

That apart, the crop was damaged this year due to untimely rains and gales. Neither the traders are coming forward to purchase the crop nor the government is going to their rescue. As a result, the ryots have lost the bargaining power.

Also, as the pressure increases to repay debts, they have no other go but to sell it at low price, said BJP district president Peddolla Ganga Reddy.

The price per quintal last year, initially, was Rs. 2,200, which slowly came down to Rs. 1,600.

But this year, it was just Rs. 1,900 at the beginning of the harvest in the last week of January, pushing down to Rs. 1,400 later. The farmers were in dire straits and were waiting for some succour, he said.

As usual, farmers in Armoor, Nandipet, Balkonda, Jakranpally, Velpur, Morthad and Kammarpally mandals had grown the crop in 40,000 acres and about 10 lakh quintals was harvested.

But when auction was conducted in Morthad mandal, under the aegis of three rythu sanghams, in the beginning of the season, traders offered only Rs. 1,900 per quintal. In subsequent auctions, the rate fell by Rs. 400 to Rs. 500, disappointing the ryots.

Therefore, they stopped auctions. It happened due to the cartels formed by traders.

A progressive farmer and former DCMS chairman, Munipally Sai Reddy, said that the condition of red sorghum farmers was very pathetic. “Government can purchase the crop as it is used for dairy farms and grass growing. But surprisingly it is indifferent. So who will rescue the farming community,” he asked.

Farmers in all villages of the Armoor sub-division where the red sorghum is grown predominantly, are waiting as to who will offer a better a price.

Price per quintal last year was Rs. 2,200 initially, and came down slowly to Rs. 1,600

Price this year was just Rs. 1,900 at the beginning of the harvest, coming down to Rs. 1,400 later

P. Ram Mohan