Sources say that the solution is not in the hands of State government; Centre not keen on setting up new boards

Even as red jowar and turmeric farmers of Nizamabad district have intensified their agitation demanding the State government to procure their produce at remunerative prices, sources in the government say the solution is not in the hands of the State government.

However a broad political intervention may be possible if the demands of the farmers are reasonable, say government sources. “There is no administrative solution to this,” they add.

Different grades

The long-pending demand for a Turmeric Board by the commercial crop growers is under the purview of the Union government. The demand to fix uniform price for turmeric is also not possible given different grades of turmeric based on various factors. The demand for turmeric is market driven, they said. The Centre apparently was not keen on setting up any new boards and was in favour of merging the existing boards as they were not found to be effective in meeting the purpose for which they were set up, sources said.

Red jowar is a seed and not an edible crop and is mainly cultivated as fodder for the dairy industry in Punjab, Haryana and other northern States.

“It is an agreement between the seed companies and farmers and they buy back the seed from the farmers,” sources said. Last year the government purchased the red jowar seed, to help farmers, at ₹2,500 per quintal and incurred losses as it had to sell it to traders for a lower price. This year too the red jowar farmers want the government to come to their rescue and purchase the crop.

‘Tough task’

Government introduced farm sector friendly schemes like Rythu Bandhu investment assistance, Rythu Bima, providing irrigation and 24×7 free power, extending loan waiver. On top of this, if farmers also expect the government to procure even commercial crops, it would become a tough task, they said. On the demand of turmeric farmers to stabilise turmeric price at ₹15,000 per quintal, they point out that it is not possible for government to buy entire turmeric crop as the demand is market driven.

No market system

However, farmers’ representatives point out that there is no market system to buy commercial crops of red jowar and turmeric at reasonable price from the farmers.

The way to ensure remunerative prices to farmers for their produce is through creation of crop colonies in the designated areas for specific crops and setting up agro-based and food processing units for value addition.

“Government is working on this for a long-term solution to the farmers’ demand for remunerative prices,” sources said.

Meanwhile Telangana Jana Samithi representatives M. Kodandaram, P. L. Vishweshwar Rao and others said that when powerful forces were controlling the market, government should step in and help the farmers by procuring their produce.

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