Shikaripura: Sitting under a tree for a lunch break, Farmer Shantappa worriedly looks at the corn drying under the sun as faces the prospect of selling the produce in the open market at a lower price of Rs 1,000 per Quintal.
The whole family has put in a lot of labour for cultivating the corn in five acres of land, but the returns from the produce would not even cover the cost of production, he tells his fellow farmers, who are equally distressed over the situation.
Faced with back to back drought for the last three years, most farmers in BJP’s Chiefministerial candidate Yeddyurappa’s constituency, have shifted from paddy to jowar that can be grown in less water and in shorter duration.
Villagers in the five Hoblis in Shikaripura are unhappy that the State Governmentdid not start the Minimum Support Price (MSP) operation despite their leader Yeddyurappa’s representation to the state and central government.
“The Regional Marketing Centrehas not opened for MSP procurement this time. Our leader has promised that he will ensure Rs.1,500 per Quintal MSP for corn if BJP comes to the power,” 44-year-old Farmer Ganesh Koodahalli told PTI.
“The central government has announced the MSP of Rs.1,425 per Quintalfor the 2017-18 crop year (July-June), but farmers feel that they are not getting it. We really don’t know whom to blame, Centre or the state government,” Koodahalli said.
“Another Farmer Suresh Kumar said there is no processing unit nearby to use corn for alternative purpose. We stopped paddy cultivation due to poor rains. There is no sufficient irrigation in this belt. Therefore we are cultivating corn hoping to earn some decent money for living.”
“Mostly rain-fed area, the taluk gets irrigation from Anjanpura and Ambligola dams even though the Centre has sanctioned a project for supply of Thungabhadra River water for irrigation in other Hoblis but the State Government has shown reluctance to implement it just before the election, he said.
“Politics is being played in the name of farmers,” Kumar said angrily while adding that he was thinking of exercising the NOTA (None of the above) option in the May 12 Assembly election.
Corn production in the taluk is expected to reach around 8 lakh tonnes this year. However, arecanut farmers are better off as they are getting a decent price.”
Last year, less than half of the corn output was procured at MSP. But the entire stock is lying in the godowns of state-run Food Corporation of India(FCI). There is no additional storage. Therefore, the MSP operation was not initiated,” said a Taluk Officialwho does not want to be identified.
However, most farmers in 172 villages in Shikaripura taluk are pinning hopes on their Dominant Lingayat Leader Yeddyurappa to resolve their problems if the BJP comes to power both in the state and at the Centre.
Some farmers even hope that the taluk will soon become a district and witness more development.