Vijayapura: Bhimsen Konnur, a lemon farmer, has come from Atharga village in Indi taluk to Vijayapura APMC to sell 12 bags of lemon hoping that he will get a good price.
But all his hopes were dashed the moment he came to know about the price being offered at the market for each bag of lemon which is normally over 60 kilograms.
“When I sold twelve bags for Rs. 700 each, my profit after deducting transportation, labour and commission to agents was only Rs. 50 per bag. This is what the lemon farmers of the district are getting in Vijayapura market,” he said with utter dismay.
He said that while in the last summers, the lemon farmers sold each bag for no less than Rs. 7,000, in winters, the price has reached to bottom.
Another farmer Santosh Kadiwal said that the lemon farmers of the district are in distress as they are unable to recover even the cost of input, leave alone make a profit.
According to the officials, the lemon has been cultivated on around 12,000 hectares of land in the district which is the highest in the State.
Asked whether the Karnataka State Lemon Development Board which has been set up in the district is doing any good to lemon farmers, Kadiwal said that the Board has done nothing to help the farmers.
“When it was announced that a Board was being set up in the district which would help lemon farmers to make a profit, we were elated. But even after around four years of its establishment, we have got nothing from the board”, he said.
Stating that the government should fix the Minimum Support Price for lemons like in the case of other agricultural products, he said that without MSP, the farmers will continue to suffer losses during winters and monsoons.
“Because of the conducive climate and adequate water, the farmers get bumper lemon crops during winters, but the same products fetch almost no profit for the farmers”, he said.
The farmers said that the government should not only fix MSP but also establish cold storages where the farmers could store products for a longer period. “ The lemon processing units should also be set up to prepare byproducts which have higher demand in foreign countries”, he said.