It is to help farmers who are not getting the Minimum Support Price as sales are hit, says officials
The State government on Monday issued orders for the purchase of sweet lime at ₹10,000 per metric tonne directly from the farmers to help them tide over the crisis induced by the pandemic.
Special Commissioner and Director of Agricultural Marketing P.S. Pradyumna said that the decision was taken to support the farmers who were not getting the Minimum Support Price(MSP) as the sales were affected.
In the discussion of the Group of Ministers, it was felt that since sweet lime is rich in vitamin-C and aids in disease resistance, it should be made available to people in rural areas too, at subsidised prices.
The procurement of sweet lime shall be made from farmers only through NeML Software by the supplying Agriculture Market Committee, the maximum quantum of procurement would be 10,000 tonnes at ₹10,000 per MT. The procured product shall be supplied to Rythu Bazars through . The procurement limit has been set at 20 MT (200 quintals) per acre for a maximum of 5 acres – 100 MT (or 1000 quintals) per farmer.
In the beginning days of the pandemic in Anantapur district, where the crop is grown in 1,40,000 acres, there was no such support for the farmers, whose problems had compounded when the lockdown was announced, as sending the produce outside the State had turned a herculean task.
‘Price very low’
The Rythu Sangham leaders told The Hindu on Monday that the price then was ₹6,000 a tonne in the open market which led to thousands of acres of sweet lime farms remaining unattended, and fruits were not plucked as it was not economically viable. “Currently, the fruit is being sold between ₹20,000 and ₹30,000 a tonne in the open market depending on its grade and if the government gives only ₹10,000 a tonne, the price in the open market will also drastically fall,” they opined.
Unless the sweet lime is sold at ₹30,000 a tonne, it was economically not viable, they said. In the summer of 2019, the fruit was sold at ₹60,000 a tonne in the open market.