KENDRAPARA: The fall in the price of black gram in wholesale market has forced growers, particularly small and marginal farmers in the district, to resort to distress sale. The price of black gram, which was `6,000 a quintal last year, has come down to Rs 4000 a quintal.The worst affected are debt-ridden small and marginal farmers who are forced to sell the produce immediately after harvest so as to repay loans taken from banks and private moneylenders. A 54-year-old farmer Jyotiranjan Parida of Haridaspur village in Garadapur block had raised black gram over his two acres of land three months back and hoped to earn good money in this season. But fall in the price of black gram in wholesale market belied all his hopes. Like Jyotiranjan, the fate of around 50,000 riverside farmers of the district is now hanging in balance.
“This season is a disastrous for the black gram farmers in the district. Last year, we had sold a quintal of black gram at the cost of `6000. But now we are selling the produce at `4000 a quintal to meet household expenditure and repay the debts,” said Ranjan Samal, a farmer of Patrapur.Babaji Parida, a farmer of Palakana village, said, “We are desperate to sell black grams after the end of the harvesting season to repay loans. Though the Government had fixed the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of black gram at `5400 per quintal, traders are buying the produce from the farmers’ doorstep at `4000 per quintal.”
When contacted, Assistant Agriculture Officer (AAO) of Kendrapara Satyabrata Sahoo said, “Around 50,000 farmers of riverside villages in the district had raised the cash crop over 37,000 hectares (ha) of land this year. Though the Government had fixed the MSP of black gram at `5,400 per quintal, there is no system to purchase the crops from farmers through Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies (PACS). As a result, farmers are being forced to sell the black gram at lower price in the market.”
Umesh Chandra Singh, a farmers’ leader and president of the district unit of Krushak Sabha, said while the prices of all farm inputs have gone up manifold, the agriculture officials are only concerned about the paddy farmers by purchasing it from them through societies. He demanded that the State Government should purchase black gram from farmers directly through PACS.