Areca farmers shift to other professions


Bangalore, March 1 , 2018: A scarcity of water has affected the cultivation of arecanut in Hosanagara taluk, Shivamogga district, forcing farmers to become construction workers.

Umesha M started working as a daily-wages labourer after he could not earn money from agriculture. Similar is the situation of Vishwanath K, another arecanut farmer who said he has been facing difficulty cultivating arecanut.

Sankar Prasad, an areca farmer, informed The Observer: “Cultivation needs adequate water and proper drainage. We have faced a water problem for years, but government has done nothing to solve it. Besides, the price is dropping. We farmers do not get back even a fraction of the price.”

In the past four years, prices of arecanut in Shivamogga district have decreased from Rs 350 a kg  to Rs 150-175 a kg. Farmers say the cost of transportation has increased after GST came into being. Old stocks remain uncleared, and farmers are not paid on time.

The problem is spread over the entire taluk.

Famer Vishwanath K said: “Here arecanut is the main crop. We have cultivated it for generations, but now we have started doing construction work because we have incurred losses in the past few years.

Pointing to a dried-up well, he said: “This is the only source of water for us to consume and cultivate. This is the main reason why we are not being able to cultivate.”

Brijesh, another arecanut  farmer, said: “We all have shifted to other professions. We are unable to pump water most of the time because of electricity problems.”

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