Glut in vegetable market troubles Andhra

Hyderabad, April 16 | Updated: Apr 17 2006, 05:30am hrs
It is a problem of plenty - due to higher yields - that is bothering vegetable and fruit farmers across Andhra Pradesh. While vegetable farmers are dumping their produce at the market yards, fruit producers are not harvesting at all.

The reason: area under cultivation has been increased, and as per the governments suggestion, the dry land farmers have switched over to other crops including vegetables from water intense paddy.

We conceded to the government suggestion, and we are now left with the problem of marketing, a farmer from Gollagudem of Ranga Reddy district said. He could not sell his vegetables in the citys Gudimalkapur wholesale market and had to simply abandon them.

Though originally the area under vegetable crop was about 85,000 hectare during the rabi season, in the current season over one lakh hectare were brought under vegetable cultivation. While tomatoes were grown over 10,000 hectare in Kurnool and Chittoor districts, the bumper crop of over three million quintal this year has caused domestic prices to slump to as low as Rs 0.25 per kg.

Telangana and Rayalaseema have witnessed bumper produce of tomato, brinjal, cauli flower, bangalore beans, ladys finger and lentil. Officials say that the government has issued orders to the marketing department to buy the surplus produce and supply it to slums and social welfare hostels.

Reports from other parts of the state suggest that there is a bumper crop this year and the farmers are neither able to sell in the local markets nor have enough cold storages. According to sources, heavy production of pomegranates has been reported in Chittoor, and of sweet lemon and lemon in Anantapur. The farmers are totally unaware how to sell them, sources say.

We have issued orders to the market committees to buy the entire unsold stock and supply to social welfare hostels and slums at a nominal price. The government is not looking for profit in the deal, the officials said.