Say contractors stall payment for months.
By, Yukta Mudgal
Farmers in Karnataka incur heavy losses as their produce is not bought for fixed prices at Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs).
Farmers complain there is no fixed price in the APMCs due to which contractors buy their produce at lower rates, leaving them at a loss.
Tulsabai Rajput, a farmer in Jigeri, Gajendragad, who owns a 10-acre farm, said: “I sow maize seeds in the farm, but there is no growth.” It takes a lot of time to grow and dry maize. “Once we sell our produce, the contractor stalls payment for months.”
She buys cow dung for Rs 2,000 and uses it on her land but still there is no visible growth. She spends Rs 10,000 a month on chemicals and seeds.
Shrikant Kempewal, another farmer, said: “Due to heavy rain in 2022, all my crops got ruined and I did not sell anything in the mandi.”He now works in other people’s farms.
Umesh Jigular, who grows chana, maize and tur, and rears silkworms, said he buys 12,000 seeds every year and gets a yield of one quintal on 1.5 acres of land. A borewell he dug two years ago cost him Rs. 1 lakh. “Four years ago, I used to earn Rs 2,500 for one quintal of maize, but now I get Rs 1,700 to Rs 1,800,”Jigular shared, adding that the government should fix prices in APMCs.
As per the Farmers Portal, the government has fixed Rs 2,970 a quintal as minimum support price for jowar, Rs 1,962 for maize, and Rs 6,600for tur dal. But these MSPs remain on paper.
Srikant Sipatrapa Singadi who earns Rs 15,000 a month working as an electrician in Bengaluru said: “There is no profit in farming, hence I decided to not choose farming as a profession and moved to the city.” His father owns 25 goats and a cow. They do not sell the milk but consume it themselves as the cow does not produce enough milk.
Hanumanth H. Hiradoni, a farmer in Paramanahatti village, Kushtagi, grows beans, tomatoes and maize in his one-acre farm. He earns Rs 1,700 by selling a quintal of maize and spends Rs 6,000 on pesticides. Hanumanth said that after spending around Rs 35,000 for four months, he earns only Rs 15,000. “Even if I earn Rs 20,000, I will be happy, but Rs 15,000 is too less. MLAs like Doddagunda visit our houses, collect votes and go back without helping us. I want a pump, drip irrigation and fair prices in APMC,” he said.
Asked about how the government helps farmers, Sikander K. Bagwan, a data entry operator at the Rajur Gram Panchayat, said the panchayat does not have enough data on it.
Veeranna V. Adagatti, Deputy Tahasildar, Gajendragad, said fertiliser prices are high but daily wages are low. Farmers spend huge money on sprinklers which cost too much. The government provides farmers with cow dung and sprinklers at an affordable price. “If a farmer buys sprinklers from the government under PM Krishi Sinchayi Yojana, he has to spend only Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000, but from private means he spends Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000 to buy sprinklers. To apply for the Yojana, a farmer has to deposit a water certificate, farmer certificate and Record of Rights Certificate in the tahasildar’s office,” he said.
In December 2022, the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh,Karnataka Region, held a press conference at Freedom Park where it raised similar issues and demanded a profitable fixed price in APMCs and the removal of GST on farm equipment.