Rain, moisture ruin chilli crop in Ballari

Rain, moisture ruin chilli crop in Ballari

The lives of chilli farmers in the district are virtually on the edge, due to the risk of the crops getting spoilt.

Chilli grown on thousands of acres is turning black due to the drizzling in the last few days, the moisture in the air and the cloudy weather. This is likely to push the prices down.

Chillies that were put out for drying without being placed on tarpaulin sheets are bearing the brunt. The quality of the chillies has thus deteriorated from superior to second grade.

The growers also face the challenge of separating the spoilt and unspoilt chillies as that requires additional labour.

Nagesh Reddy, a farmer from Vakrani camp on the outskirts of the city who has cultivated Guntur chillies on five acres, is among those affected. Top quality chilli sells for Rs 10,000 to Rs 11,000 per quintal at the APMC market at Challakere in neighbouring Chitradurga district. It is feared that the prices will come down to Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000, putting farmers in distress.

The district cultivates more of the Byadgi variety than Guntur and the loss seems to be even for both types. Chilli is grown on 8,661 hectares and yield is expected from 8,249 hectares.

Venkatesh, another farmer, rues that there is no subsidy scheme for purchasing tarpaulin sheets for drying the crops and the farmers are unable to buy the sheets on their own. A tarpaulin sheet measuring 60x40 feet costs Rs 4,000 and small farmers find it difficult to spend so much for the sheets.

B G Chidanand, deputy director of the Horticulture department, says barring Kampli hobli in Hosapete taluk, the moisture in the air is high elsewhere in the district.
 This could harm the crops and farmers are expected to spray medicines on the chillies to prevent them from getting spoilt.

Chidanand said that they had written to the Karnataka Spices Board in Haveri, urging for the supply of tarpaulin sheets at subsidised rates and that the Board had agreed to do the needful.
DH News Service

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