Storage firm cold shoulders ryots

Storage firm cold shoulders ryots

Storage firm cold shoulders ryots

This is another instance of how the lack of proper cold storage facilities can lead to agriculture produce getting spoilt.

Chilli farmers in the taluk and the adjoining areas of the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh were in dire straits due to a crash in prices, when they decided to wait for them to go up and stored their produce at a private cold storage facility, by paying rent.

#However, the cold storage facility of Noble Agro Processing and Cold Storage Corporation (at the industrial area) allegedly developed a technical snag and resulted in the crop worth crores of rupees getting spoilt, much to the farmers’ chagrin. The chillies have turned black, rendering them unusable. Farmers claim that 18,000 bags of chillies have been lost.

The chilli growers’ pleas to the management of the company to make good the losses have fallen on deaf ears. The farmers are now in damage control mode and are bringing out sacks of chillies which they had kept in the cold storage facility. They are drying the chillies in the sun and washing them, in the hope that the crop is not lost completely.

“The chillies commanded Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000 per quintal during February-March, by paying a rent of Rs 91 per bag. So, we kept the produce in the cold storage in the knowledge that the prices usually shoot up at this time of the year.

But, due to our misfortune, the chillies have been spoilt at a time when they should have fetched us a good price,” said Chandrashekhar Reddy, Koma Reddy, Narayana Reddy and Manjunath Reddy, farmers of Korlagundi village in the taluk. The miseries of Thipperudra of Kammarachedu village are no different.

“The cold storage company authorities are refusing to allow us have a look at the chillies stored. Worse, we are not even able to find the chilli bags kept by us in the facility,” said Yerriswamy, a farmer from Kalyanadurga in Andhra Pradesh.

Problems ignored

“All the cold storage units in the city were full, and so we opted for this unit, owned by S Linganna. We have been bringing the problem to the firm management’s notice for the past 15 days. But, neither the owner nor the manager has visited us,” the chilli farmers said.

Taking the issue to the deputy commissioner’s office proved futile as the growers were told that the government had nothing to do with the private firm.

The farmers were already worried that due to the lack of rains, the yield was not much this year and the chillies getting spoilt has rubbed salt into their wounds. They said they had spent lakhs of rupees on the crop and all that had been washed away now.  “We all have the receipts of the rent paid to the cold storage facility. So, we have decided to approach the consumer forum,” said some of the farmers. 

However, Bhujendra, the manager at the godown, said there was neither a technical snag at the facility nor had the machines been switched off at any time. “The farmers had sprinkled water on the chillies and filled them in sacks, thus spoiling them,” he said.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox