Government Failed To Handle Traders In Chilli Crisis

The AP government seems to have no control over the traders who have been playing with the lives of the Chilli farmers at the market for years. They are dictating the price despite repeated warnings.
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Amaravati: The owes of the chilli farmers across the two Telugu States continue as the traders gained control over the prices. This is leading to a greater trouble being witnessed with the farmers holding protests or rather destroying their produce in protest. The market yards to where the farmers have transported their produce have become battle fields with the farmers in distress holding protests every day for the past one month. Despite repeated warnings from the governments of the two States, the traders have not increased the price and continue to sit on the basic price that they have fixed a month ago, which is on the lower side when compared with the last year’s price list.

The chilli farmers are not paid even Rs 4,000 a quintal as against Rs 12,000 they were paid in the last season. The traders claim that the demand is less due to increase yield this year and there is no demand in the global market. The traders claim the high yields of chillies in the neighbouring China and Pakistan, besides a small increase in the output from Sri Lanka have dampened the international market. The increased yield in these three countries this year had brought down the global demand for the produce leading to the steep fall in the price, say the traders.

While accepting the fact that the demand had come down alarmingly, the governments have instructed the traders to raise the price levels at least to ensure minimum support. The Central government had intervened and announced ₹ 5,000 a quintal as support price and an additional ₹ 1,500 towards expenses after repeated requests from the farmers and the State government. But, this too appears to have failed to help the farmers who are continuing to hold protests with their produce at the markets.

The reason for the traders taking control over the market is the failure of the government-owned marketing and commerce departments. The two departments limit their operations to a negligible low level with the lowest price forcing the farmers to depend on the private market. Though the governments, both State and the Central, have their market platforms and have to intervene when the traders bring down prices, they fail to act, allegedly being under the influence of the traders. The chillies, turmeric, spices, paddy and tobacco have been under the total control of the private markets and the government’s intervention had not come to help the farmers leading to the crisis in every season.

Unfortunately, the cold storages and other storage points, including those under the government and private sectors are insufficient to stock the produce when the prices are down. As there is no storage and no price, the situation turns difficult for the farmers leading to the crisis. The government had neither increased the storage facilities nor have the control over the traders intensifying the crisis. The absence of the government intervention through the marketing and commerce departments at a time when their presence is required is further deteriorating the crisis. It is high time that the government wakes up and rushes to the aid of the farmers ending their woes in every season.

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