Middlemen making hay


Tur growers in the district are reeling under distress as they apprehend severe fall in tur production, for the second consecutive year. However, the price of tur which used to hover between Rs 35 and Rs 45 per kg, has now hit an astronomical height of Rs 90 per kg now.

The steep fall in tur production in the year 2008-09 is one of the, if not principal causes, for the sky-rocketing price. It is the large traders and millers who are dictating terms to market by wielding the price button. There are strong apprehensions of hoarding by some millers and traders who take advantage of abnormal imbalance between demand and supply. As a retail vendor pointed out, a large trader of Gulbarga has earned not less than Rs 5 cr in the last three months only by taking advantage of the shortage of the produce in the market.

The price of tur went up to Rs 9,000 per quintal, a few days ago and following vigilant measures by the authorities in the neighbouring Maharashtra, the price came down by Rs 1,000. “The largescale hoarding of the commodity is the main cause for shortage’’ the trader pointed out adding that he never felt the shortage.

Tur was soon only in 55,395 hectares last year (as on July 20) and in the current season, the sowing has been completed in 1.82 lakh hectares as against the targeted area of 3.60 lakh hectares. Tur production stood at 1.64 lakh tonne last year, far less than the 2.40 lakh tonne the previous year. As against the average rainfall of 348.6 mm till July end the district so far has received only 199.41 mm leaving a shortage of 149.19 mm.

The ideal period for sowing tur is up to July end. The late sown tur which is a 180-day long crop will not grow to the required extent resulting in fall in production. Moreover the late sown crop is vulnerable for pest attacks. Tur is the only drought resistant cash crop requiring less rains but untimely rains quite often wreak havoc.

The high price of tur is not the reflection of well-being of growers. They will never get more than Rs 3,500 per quintal in the thick of harvest season. What transpires between field and the dal market is anybody’s guess.

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