ANANTAPUR: Though the government has promised to develop the district as horticulture hub, the farmers are not getting profits for their crops due to lack of required marketing facilities. Tomato and chilli farmers are incurring huge losses during the season due to fall of prices in the open market.
According to marketing department AD D Himasaila, 10 lakh metric tonnes of tomato and chilli worth Rs 900 crore to Rs 1,000 crore are produced in the district. Due to lack of remunerative prices for tomato and chillies, the farmers are incurring losses to a tune of Rs 250 crore to Rs 300 crore in the district.
Despite tomatoes being sold at Rs 10 a kg in the retail market, the wholesale traders are offering only Rs 2 per kg. The traders on most occasions, cartel the price. The failure of government officials to provide marketing facilities remunerative prices led the farmers to incur losses, farmers alleged.
Tomato crop is raised at Kalyanadurgam, Kundirp, Thadimarri, Battulapalli, Anantapur, Dharmavaram, Atmakuru, Kuderu, Gutthi, Gunthakalu and Yadiki mandals. Each farmer spends up to Rs 1.2 lakh to cultivate tomato in Rs 1 acre in mulching mode. The farmers have to bear the transport charges, broker commission and packing charges.
If the crop is good, farmers get a yield of 30 tonnes of tomato in each acre. If the price is Rs 10 per kg, the farmers would get Rs 2 profit. Now, the market price is only Rs 2 and the farmers have lost their investment, farmers deplored. Officials attributed the steep fall of tomato price to raising of the crop in Chintamani, Kolar in Karnakata state and in some mandals in Telangana state also.
Meanwhile, the chilli farmers are also incurring huge losses due to fall of prices. Each farmer invests Rs 1.1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh to raise the crop in an acre. If he can sell the produce at Rs 15 per kg, he can earn some profits. But the price of chill is falling to bottom forcing the farmers to bear losses. The Chilli farmers alleged that the traders indulged in a cartel the price.
Talking to this reporter at Bukkarayasamudram, a farmer P Eeshwar Reddy said that he had cultivated tomato in his 2 acres of land. He spent Rs 1 lakh for raising the crop in each acre. Now the traders are offering Rs 45 for 15 kg tomato box. “If I sell my produce at that rate, I will not get even labour charges,” he lamented.