NELLORE: Cultivation of lemon has been severely affected due to prevailing drought conditions in the district. Lemon crop in around 6,000 hectares has already withered due to non-availability of water as against the total crop acreage of 17,000 hectares. Farmers have started providing water to the crop with tankers in the cultivated area.
According to official sources, farmers have cultivated lemon in around 17,000 hectares in Podalakuru, Tulimerla, Gollapalli, Tippavarappadu, Sydapuram, Chaganam, Utukuru, Murlapudi, Pompodi, Bulimcherla, Thalupur, Regapudi, Tadipathri, Mittatmakur and Pagadalapalli in the district. Majority of the farmers cultivated lemon in four acres. Podalakuru, Venkatagiri, Jayampu and Gudur are the major lemon markets.
Now, there is no good price for local produce in Gudur and Jayampu markets due to change in climatic conditions. “We have been protecting the crop by providing water with tankers to the lemon plants. We have to spend at least Rs 700 to Rs 1,000 per water tanker daily. Though we have sunk borewells, they have already dried up due to depletion in groundwater levels in the district,” said I Ramanaiah, a farmer from Thalupur.
Normally, farmers from Gudur, Sydapuram, Venkatagiri, Dakkili, Ozili, Rapur, Chillakur and Kaluvoy mandals bring their produce to Gudur lemon market. Local farmers are only getting Rs 4,500 - Rs 5,000 per bag of lemons this season as against the price of Rs 6,000 - Rs 8,000 last year.
Nellore farmers export lemon to Delhi, Lucknow, Varanasi, Mathura, Gorakhpur, Allahabad and other parts of North India. “As there is no good price for the lemon in the market, how can we sustain?” asked V Suryanarayana, a farmer from Sydapuram.