A small increase in the area under vegetables in the district has led to more production than the demand in the local market, which has resulted in the fall of prices and many farmers are claiming to be incurring losses on vegetables this season.
“I had grown okra (bhindi) over 4 kanals, but now within a few days, prices have fallen to less than Rs 500 per quintal at which we cannot recover the cost of even daily picking labour,” said Gagandeep Singh Gaggi, a farmer from Duareana village.
“I have spent too much in raising the crop by buying costly hybrid seeds but have earned little. So, sensing the loss, I have stopped picking them while the crop has just matured to yield maximum,” he said. Gagandeep has now decided to plough his standing okra crop.
“The vegetable-growing has no much profit now as the local markets are small and there is no other alternative for the sale of vegetables. Most of time, after unexpected rise of prices of some vegetables, people go after growing them without much understanding of the marketing that leads to a glut and prices crash badly,” said Gurmeet Singh Mann, a farmer from Bukan Singh Nagar, Kotkapura, who has been in vegetable-growing for many years.
“The input costs have risen too much on vegetable-growing as it is more labour-intensive crop in comparison to the traditional crops. These days, most of the seasonal vegetables are selling at less than `500 per quintal in the wholesale market, which is leading to the loss to vegetable growers,” Gurmeet claimed.
“The area under potatoes had increased in the district and after potatoes; many people grew vegetables in the fields vacated by the crop. Some have grown fodder and sathi mung,” said Jaswant Singh, a farmer from Panjgrain Kalan village.
“My relatives had also grown vegetables but they have already abandoned them due to low prices,” he said. Some of the vegetable-growers from landless communities are reportedly suffering big loss because they have hired land for about `15,000 to 20,000 per acre till June 15.
“The farmers should try to keep a tab on the market trends and avoid running after a particular vegetable due to the rates in last season. They can also form groups or market individually directly to earn more profit leaving out the middle man and third parties,” said Dr Amandeep Keshav, project director ATMA Faridkot (agriculture technology management agency).
“Gradation and processing, if possible, of the vegetables should be tried to market the produce in a different way to carve a niche in the competitive market,” Keshav said.
“Farmers now need to adopt some other techniques such as growing vegetables in poly houses/net houses, which can control the temperature to some extent and save the crop from insect attacks. Thus early or late crops of vegetables, when they are in demand can earn them handsome profit,” said Kirandeep Singh Gill, horticulture development officer Faridkot.