VIJAYAWADA: While most of the villages around Vijayawada are on the verge of shedding their rural character due to the boom in the realty sector in the Capital region, Kunachanapalli in Guntur district is determined to protect its identity.
Kunchanapalli is known for leafy vegetable cultivation. It is just a 10 minutes drive from Vijayawada, on NH-5 towards Guntur.
“Our family has been growing leafy vegetables for generations. We are tenant farmers and are cultivating vegetables in 75 cents of land. Vegetable cultivation needs a total dedication from the farmer and a round-the-clock care. Even if relatives pay a visit to us, they have to come to the field where we have to stay throughout the day,” Thota Nagaraju, a young farmer, said.
The village has a population of about 3,500 and there are about 1,000 farmers. Out of them, 400 to 500 cultivate only leafy vegetables.
“Most of the farmers are tenants and cultivate vegetables in plots as small as 25 cents or 50 cents. About 90 per cent of farmers, who cultivate leafy vegetables, are tenant farmers,” said Kunchanapalli village revenue officer G Prabhakar Rao.
Andhra special ‘gongura’ and all other popular leafy vegetables are grown in the village.“While some vegetables can be grown all through the year, some leafy vegetables like coriander and mint are grown only in winter as they cannot tolerate heat,” said Babu Rao, a farmer.
“No government officer comes to our fields. We have learned it from our forefathers. We do not even get any subsides or loan waiver. Even if our crop gets damaged during cyclones, we do not get any compensation,” said a farmer T Nagaraju.
He said that there was a rumour that the government was planning to take over their lands. “We shall not allow that to happen at any cost,” he asserted. Availability of water all and connectivity to market has helped Kunchanpalli in emerging as a major producer of leafy vegetables which are supplied to Kaleswara Rao Market and rythu bazaars.