Berhampur, April 16 (Localwire): Scores of cash-strapped farmers in Odisha are resorting to distress sale of turmeric to middlemen, as traders have expressed inability to make immediate payments at new MSP rates fixed by the government.
While the bench mark price of turmeric was fixed at Rs 60 per kg, farmers are forced to sell the product at Rs 40-50 per kg to middlemen, since they need immediate cash and can’t wait till the elections are over.
Buyers, on the other hand, have expressed their inability to pay the farmers at new rates, as the government has not yet released the subsidy amount due to the model code of conduct.
It’s one of the burning issues of around 40,000 tribal farmers in the turmeric-rich Kandhamal district which can swing the political fortunes either in favor or against in the elections on April 18.
Sanjeet Patnaik, the secretary of the Kandhamal Apex Spices Association for Marketing, which procures the turmeric from farmers, said: “We have already bought turmeric worth Rs 60 lakh, but payment will be made after government releases the subsidy amount of Rs 2 crore.”
Currently, some 16,000 farmers of Kandhamal supply their product directly to KASAM, even as the association is trying to bring in more farmers under its arm.
Daringibadi Raikia, Phirinigia, K. Nuagaon, Baliguda and G. Udayagiri blocks are the main turmeric growing regions, covering some 15,000 hectares of land, in the district.
“We demand immediate payment of our produce as we’re in a financial crunch. Hope the elected representatives hear our cries,” said Sabaria Digal of Nuagaon village.