In Nizamabad of Telangana, hundreds of turmeric farmers took to the streets at Armoor, seeking a minimum support price (MSP) of around ₹15,000 per quintal.
As the marketing season starts, prices have fallen from about 5,500-6,000 a few weeks ago to about 4,000-5,000 a quintal (depending on the quality), crashing even below the production cost of about 7,500 per quintal.
Enraged, the farmers set up a joint action committee to ask the government for MSP of about 15,000 per quintal. Around 4,000 farmers gathered at Mamidipalli near Armoor from different turmeric-growing regions in the state and blocked the National Highway yesterday.
In order to grow turmeric, farmers invest around ₹1.50 lakh per acre. They get around 20 quintals a hectare on average. Telangana is home to one-fourth of India’s 4.20 lakh acres of turmeric acreage, generating over one-fourth of India’s 11 lakh tonnes of annual production.
As the marketing season started, prices plummeted. It is very unviable at ₹4,000 a quintal. Anvesh Reddy, member of the Joint Action Committee of Turmeric Farmers, told on Sunday that the government needs to step in and declare an MSP of about ₹15,000 to assure remunerative income for farmers.
The common forum for pressing their demands was established by farmers belonging to various political parties and farmers’ associations. As rains hit the crop in October, the farmers suffered extensively. Productivity was impaired in some parts of the state due to waterlogging in the field. Nizamabad and Jagityal with 36,375 and 32,000 acres respectively, make up half of the 1.33 lakh acres of state land.
Another panel leader, V Prabhakar, urged the government to set up a Turmeric Board in Nizamabad, on the lines of the Tobacco Board, to help and resolve the challenges they face and promote the farm produce. “They promised to set up the board in the last election, but neglected to set it up here,” he stated.
After January 20, the farmers’ committee will hold a meeting to chalk out an action plan to force the government.
The farmers also demanded a fine variety paddy bonus of ₹600 per quintal and continue to operate the purchasing units.