Koppal: Severe drought conditions and a scarcity of livestock feed have placed tremendous hardship on farmers who are struggling to provide for their cattle, which are a lifeline for their families.
Anjinappa from Hirekeranalli village in Sanduru taluk, Bellary district, emotionally expressed, “I invested Rs 80,000 two years ago to purchase an ox to support my livelihood. Now, I’m willing to sell it for just Rs 30,000. We have limited food, and I could only harvest 50 kg of maize from my one-acre land this year. We lack fodder and drinking water for the cattle, and agricultural activities have come to a standstill. It’s impossible to care for them when our lives are at stake.”
Ramanna, another farmer from Basapur in Koppal taluk, shared, “I bought cattle for Rs 1.10 lakh but am now selling them for just Rs 50,000. Adequate rainfall would make life much easier. Due to fodder shortages, every day is a struggle. A single cartload of fodder costs Rs 6,000 to Rs 7,000 and barely lasts two months.”
These heart-wrenching stories shed light on the devastating effects of the drought on farmers. Their collective sentiment was succinctly put as, “There is no rain, and our livelihoods are dwindling.”
The APMC market in Ginigeri hosts a cattle fair every Friday, where farmers from Koppala, Bellary, and surrounding areas come to buy and sell livestock. However, this time, due to the severe drought, there were significantly fewer buyers. Many farmers who hoped for fair prices for their cattle were left disappointed. Several farmers from distant districts like Vijayanagara, Gadag, Bellary, Yadagiri, and Kalaburagi arrived, hoping for a favorable deal.
Basavaraja Hulavatti, a farmer from Hagaribommanahalli, explained, “Due to the drought, many farmers are here to sell their cattle. However, there are very few buyers. We have spent a significant amount on renting vehicles to transport cattle from the district and nearby regions. With this financial burden, we have no choice but to recover our expenses from cattle sales or risk incurring losses.”
Farmers who had bought cattle for Rs 85,000 were now struggling to sell them for even Rs 50,000, given the fodder scarcity and prolonged drought. When attempting to sell to local butchers, they received even lower offers. Ningappa from Gangavati added, “I planted peanuts and maize in an eight-acre field, but no harvest was possible. Cattle are enduring severe hardship due to the unavailability of feed. Several vendors have gathered here this week.”
Amid the farmers’ hardships, brokers took advantage of the situation, mediating transactions between sellers and buyers and profiting by purchasing cattle at low prices and later selling them at higher rates.