September 22, 2015
Even after repeated requests, farmers of Anaimalai in Pollachi are still waiting for a direct procurement centre, in order to get a good rate for paddy. Due to the absence of these centres, farmers are forced to sell their produce at very less prices to private dealers.
According to G. Patteeswaran, a farmer, there are more than 800 farmers involved in paddy cultivation over 2000 acres of land. Around 500 families rely solely on ppaddy for their survival. “A few years ago, more than 8500 acres of land were under paddy cultivation. Most farmers have now switched to other crops due to low prices that paddy fetched,” he lamented.
The situation, according to him, is so grim that private dealers are buying up paddy for a paltry Rs.7200 for 600 kg. “The Government had fixed a minimum procurement price of Rs.8540 per 600 kg. Yesterday, a farmer sold his crops for Rs.7200 rupees. But these instances are rare. There are instances where farmers have been forced to sell it for as low as Rs.3000,” he said.
N. Muthusamy, another farmer from the region, said that low rates continue to push the farmers into more and more debts. “We are unable to pay the workers. A lot of money is required to buy fertilizers, pesticides and for hiring tractors and tillers. How can we get the money if we are forced to sell the crop at such low prices?” he asks.
Muthusamy said that a number of requests have been made to open direct procurement centres, but the administration had turned a deaf ear to them. “We have also petitioned the District Collector Archana Patnaik in this regard,” he said.
The officials were unavailable for comments when Covai Post tried to reach them.