Though the central government has promised to develop the district as horticulture hub, farmers are not getting profits for their crops due to lack of marketing facilities. Tomato and chilli farmers are incurring huge losses during the season.
According to a marketing department, 1 million tonnes of tomato and chilli worth Rs 9 to 10 bln (€106.3 to 118.1 mln) are produced in the district. Due to lack of remunerative prices for tomato and chillies, the farmers in the district are incurring losses to a tune of Rs 2.5 to 3 billion (€29.5 to 35.4).
Despite tomatoes being sold at Rs 10 a kg in the retail market, the wholesale traders are offering only Rs 2 per kg. The traders on most occasions, cartel the price. The failure of government officials to provide marketing facilities remunerative prices led the farmers to incur losses, farmers alleged.
Tomatoes are grown in Kalyanadurgam, Kundirp, Thadimarri, Battulapalli, Anantapur, Dharmavaram, Atmakuru, Kuderu, Gutthi, Gunthakalu and Yadiki districts. Each farmer spends up to Rs 120,000 to cultivate tomatoes and have to bear the transport charges, broker commission and packing charges.
Talking to a reporter from newindianexpress.com, a local farmer Eeshwar Reddy said that he had cultivated tomatoes, with traders now offering just Rs 45 for a 15 kg box of tomatoes. “If I sell my produce at that rate, I will not get even my labour costs back.”