Tiruchy shallot farmers in tears as procurement rate down to Rs 10 per kg
Now they are offering Rs 10 to Rs 15 a kilo. I have spent about Rs 50,000 for cultivation over an acre; the price offered would not even meet my basic costs."
TIRUCHY: Shallot farmers in the district are a worried lot as they complain of procurement prices having slumped to hover over Rs 10 and Rs 15 a kilogram as against what they said fetched about Rs 60/kg until a month ago. While traders blame a surplus in supply for the situation, farmers in the district, who are currently harvesting their crop, express concern over being left with “severe” losses this season.
The crop, which is usually cultivated thrice a year over around 5,000 hectares in the district, is fetching a wholesale price of Rs 25 to Rs 40 and retail price of Rs 30 to Rs 60 at Gandhi Market in the city. Murugesan V, a farmer in Papapatty, said, "A month ago, traders procured shallots for Rs 60/kg.
Now they are offering Rs 10 to Rs 15 a kilo. I have spent about Rs 50,000 for cultivation over an acre; the price offered would not even meet my basic costs." Gunavathy V, another farmer from Nelliampatty, said, “Labour cost is high and we don't have any storage facility for our produce. We see the reluctance in purchasing shallots as traders are not willing to come in the first place.
This time we are sure to face a huge loss." While A Solaiappan at the Koyambedu vegetable market in Chennai blamed a surplus in supply for the falling prices, Perambalur district, which tops in shallot cultivation in the state, currently records a procurement price of around `50. When contacted, a senior horticulture department official in Tiruchy said the procurement cost could be low owing to poor quality of crop.
“Even in the Musiri farmers' market, shallots are sold at Rs 35 to Rs 50 a kilo based on quality. The procurement price must be around Rs 25. I do not know why it is being procured at Rs 15/kg. I will send officers to inquire with farmers today (Wednesday) and check it." Meanwhile, a senior official from the agriculture marketing department, said, "Through our farm gate scheme we will try to help shallot farmers and look out for buyers who can purchase at better rates."
(With inputs from Thiruselvam P)