The decrease in the yield, as well as the prices in the market, has put the chilli farmers of Kurogodu taluk in quandary.
Last year, the farmers had not only enjoyed good rains, adequate rain supply in the canal, no diseases, and satisfactory yield, but also adequate prices in the market. However, this year, the situation for them is completely different.
This year, the farmers had to contend not only with the lack of water but also diseases inflicting the crop. The prices of pesticides and fertilisers had meanwhile doubled, increasing the cost of the maintenance of the crop. The yield, too, has been affected due to the diseases.
"I had taken four acres on contract at Rs 30,000 an acre. The crop grown in two acres have withered due to lack of water. I have sold the 10 quintal crop grown in the remaining acres at Rs 10,000 an acre. The price of the crop was somewhere between Rs 18,000 to Rs 20,000 before the crop was ready for harvesting. After it was ready for harvesting, the prices crashed to Rs 9,000 to Rs 10,000," explained K Doddabasappa, a chilli grower from Kurugodu.
He said, the middlemen who come to the fields and purchase the crop, take away five kg per quintal. If the crop is taken to Byadagi chilli market, the farmers have to cough up Rs 100 transportation cost and 3% commission. The farmers also get the same return if they sell it on the spot, or take the crop to the market, he stated.
The price of the crop was somewhere between Rs 17,000 to Rs 20,000 at the beginning of the year. Since the quantity of crop coming to the market is high, the buyers are creating an artificial crash in the prices, the farmers alleged.
The region lacks well-equipped godowns and storage facilities. Because of this, the farmers are forced to sell the crop at the prices they get in the market, without waiting for the movement of the prices to turn in their favour.