NELLORE: With the closure of inter-state borders, prices of paddy (BPT variety) in the open market has dropped by Rs 1,000 per tonne. Normally, paddy cultivated in Nellore district is supplied to Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Telangana.
Now, the situation has changed and farmers are forced to sell their produce at low prices to middlemen.
This season, paddy was cultivated in around 1.2 lakh hectares across the district and the expected produce is about 8.14 lakh tonnes.
Middlemen from other States and districts purchase paddy and supply them to other States. There is a good demand for Nellore BPT variety of paddy in those States. Usually, they purchase paddy at Rs 15,000 per tonne. But, after the announcement of lockdown by the government, traders have decreased the price of paddy to Rs 14,000 per tonne.
Around 1,750 tonnes of paddy is sent to Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Telangana and 30 trucks of paddy to Kerala on a daily basis.As inter-state borders are closed, paddy supply has halted. Cashing in on the situation, middlemen are offering low prices to paddy farmers.
"Some middlemen have been getting Nellore BPT variety paddy from farmers by reducing Rs 1,000 for one tonne of paddy. They hoard stocks and sell them at high prices in the open market after a few days. There is no scope for farmers to store their produce as they have to clear the debts after getting cash for the paddy," a farmer from Kovur mandal K Srihari Babu said. Meanwhile, farmers have been rushing to paddy procurement centres organised by the district administration.