THANJAVUR: While the black gram cultivation acreage in the district has doubled compared to last year's coverage, and harvest has commenced, several farmers are yet to sell the produce as the procurement price by private traders is low compared to what was offered the previous year.
So far, a total of 33,500 hectares have been covered under black gram cultivation this year. This is more than double of last year's coverage at 14,248 hectares.
The campaign taken out by the district administration, and the expectation of farmers that they can go in for short-term Kuruvai paddy cultivation this year also owing to comfortable Mettur reservoir storage level, are some reasons attributed to increased acreage of the crop this year.
Sukumaran, a farmer from Orathanadu, said while harvesting is over in 20 per cent in the area, they are not getting a decent price for the crop. "Last year the lowest price offered was Rs 72 per kg," he added.
R Seethalakshmi, a farmer from Thekkur who cultivated black gram in around one and half acres and got around 300 kg of yield, pointed out that traders at present are offering only about Rs 62 per kilogram. She is waiting for a good price.
Sukumaran further said the government should open a procurement centre in each taluk so that farmers can get a good price.
T Manimozhiyan, a farmer from Ammapettai and the managing director of Rajaraja Chozhan Farmers Producers Organisation said his FPO procured black gram as an agency of National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED) in 2018, and that he has applied for agency this year, too. "Usually NAFED would fix Rs 1 to Rs 2 over and above the prevailing open market price to stabilise the open market price," he added.
When contacted, an official of the agriculture department said arrangements would be made for procurement of black gram through NAFED.