Price crash makes tamarind bitter for farmers

Price crash makes tamarind bitter for farmers

The crash in the tamarind prices has left a bitter experience among the farmers of the district. The prices at the APMC in the city have dropped to a four-year low.

Last year, however, there was a record rise in the prices after the Ugadi festival. So, farmers brought the produce to the market after Ugadi this year. But they were in for a shock as the prices crashed.

The current prices of some of the tamarind varieties are single Gotu (with seed) - Rs 6 per kg, Gotu mix (flower) - Rs 12 to Rs 18, seedless (full flower) - Rs 22, Karipoli (folded) - Rs 33 to Rs 45 and special (good colour) - Rs 65 to Rs 70. Last year, the prices of single Gotu was Rs 28 to Rs 36, Gotu mix - Rs 50, seedless - Rs 65, Karipoli - Rs 75-130 and special - Rs 140.

Tumkur produces some of the finest varieties of tamarind in the country. 

A major part of the fruit collected in markets across the district is sent to Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Tamarind from the district is in great demand in Tamil Nadu where it is known as Mysore puli or Tumkur puli. 

However, this year, due to good yield in the two states, there is low demand.

“The traders, who purchase the produce during the tamarind season (January 15 to March 15) had stored them in cold storage. The farmers sell the produce on the same day they bring it to the market as the only cold storage in the district is full and there is no other place to store the commodity,” said Vaidyanathan, who purchased the produce through e-tender at the APMC. 

Vaidyanathan will supply the produce to consumers in Tamil Nadu.

Rise in processing costs

Compared to previous year, there is a dramatic rise in the cost of processing tamarind, rubbing salt over farmers’ wounds. 

The process, which includes plucking fruits from the tree, cleaning them, grading them according to size, removing seeds and folding good quality pulp are labour intensive.

A few years ago, the cost of processing a kg of tamarind was Rs four to five. 

Today, it is Rs 10 to Rs 15, as workers’ wage increases every year. Further, farmers incur a transport cost of Rs 1 to 2 per kg. 

“How will farmers survive if they get a few paisa in return?” said Indra, another trader.

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