VIJAYAWADA: Taking cognizance of the problems being faced by the tomato farmers of Rayalaseema region, particularly of Anantapur district, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy directed the officials concerned to initiate measures to prevent fall of tomato prices and try to get remunerative price for the crop in the State by exporting it to Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and other markets, if needed bearing the transportation cost.
Presiding over the Andhra Pradesh State Agriculture Mission (APSAM) review meeting on Saturday, the Chief Minister stressed the need for an effective mechanism of market intelligence for agriculture products and asked the officials to take immediate steps to keep the prices of vegetables under check.
Explaining the reasons for the slump in tomato prices, the agriculture officials said exports in Karnataka and Maharashtra are high and the recent floods in several parts of the State have also created transport problems, which affected the prices of the vegetable.
Directing the officials to explore ways to clear the tomato stock and ensure remunerative price for the farmers, the Chief Minister advised them to act dynamically, when there are price fluctuations. Jagan said that a new mechanism should be evolved based on the inputs from Agriculture Committees and a long-term plan should be drafted for stabilizing the prices.
He directed the APSAM officials to constitute a special cell with leading experts in the sector for procurement of agriculture produce and its marketing. It was decided to discuss agriculture yield, MSP and the prevailing situation in the market in the next APSAM meeting.
The officials brought it to the notice of the Chief Minister that some pulses and tomatoes are not getting remunerative prices due to large stocks with the farmers and also with the government. Further, the relaxed export policy has also played a part in the decline of the prices. According to them, there is a price fluctuation in the tomato market, while the prices of onions are on the rise.
Then the Chief Minister asked the officials to come up with an action plan for the procurement of the said crops. He also wanted to know if the procurement centres were set up in adequate number, while pointing out that failure of the previous government in procuring the produce from the farmers in time caused several problems to ryots. At the same time, he stressed the need for controlling the spiralling prices of onions.
It was observed that during the previous government, businessmen and politicians in the garb of farmers had duped the farmers to a great extent. It was also found that in the past there was a shortage of funds and even if funds were available, delay in their release, caused severe hardship to farmers.
Jagan directed the agriculture and marketing department officials to ensure that procurement centres are ready by the time of crop harvesting. He directed them to ready the centres by October 15 so as to procure various pulses and at the same time come up with an action plan to ensure remunerative prices to the farmers for their produce.
“Farmers should be able to register at the village secretariats as to which crop they have sown and to what extent without any problems. Village volunteers should assist the farmers to get their names registered. Data from such registration will help ensure remunerative or MSP to the respective crops. The new system should be implemented from Rabi season,” he stressed.
Jagan said dues to farmers from the previous government which accumulated up to `1,830 crore will be cleared by end of September. Rythu Bharosa and input subsidies will come a long way in helping farmers in the days to come, he added.