‘Price rise not helping us’ | india | Hindustan Times
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‘Price rise not helping us’

india Updated: Jan 29, 2010 00:52 IST
Yogesh Joshi

You may have paid up to Rs 100 for a kg of tur dal but this hardly reached the farmers who grew it.

Tur dal cultivators continued to get Rs 25 for a kg, the price they commanded in 2008.

Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar recently claimed that the price rise has helped farmers get more for their produce.

Hindustan Times spoke to some farmers and found that though consumers are paying twice as much for foodgrains this year, farmers have not gained.

“Last season, I sold my cane to a sugar mill for Rs 1,800 a quintal [Rs 18 a kg],” said Suresh Jagtap (33), a sugarcane grower from Karad. “The rate that I got was only Rs 300 more than what I got the previous year but in the retail market sugar prices had risen threefold.” [See box]

“The price rise is actually hurting me because as a consumer I pay more to buy day-to-day items but get very little for my produce,” said Raju Barhate, another sugarcane farmer from Karad.

“The margin is clearly going to traders and middlemen,” said Sudhakar Gangawane, a rice grower from Maval region.

Vegetable farmers are not happy either. Jayawant Jagtap, a farmer from Wadgaon Haveli, grows vegetables and sugarcane on his 30-acre farm. “Every week, I sell lady’s finger for Rs 2 a kg and brinjal for Rs 2.5 a kg. The middlemen who buy them sell the vegetables in the market for Rs 10 and Rs 8,” said Jagtap.

Farmers’ organisations see Pawar’s statements as a ploy to appease his rural voters. “Farmers do not even get a price that covers their cost of production, forget getting benefits,” said Vinay Hardikar, a member of Shetakari Sanghatana. “Pawar is trying to redeem himself at the expense of farmers.”

Raju Shetty, Member of Parliament from Kolhapur and leader of Swabhimani Shetakari Sanghatana said: “If farmers had indeed benefited, they would not have committed suicide.”