Bangalore: The State government will soon provide a compensation of Rs 9,000 per hectare to farmers who have lost their onion crop due to the recent rains, Law Minister T B Jayachandra said on Friday.
Speaking to reporters here, Jayachandra, who heads a Cabinet sub-committee on agriculture produce, said he had briefed Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on the compensation issue and expressed confidence that a go-ahead would be given in a few days.
He pointed out that farmers had suffered losses, as heavy rains had damaged the standing onion crops, particularly in Davangere, Chitradurga, Dharwad and Gadag districts. The minister said the sub-committee had initially contemplated fixing a floor price to purchase onions from farmers.
“However, as the crop had been totally damaged, the panel decided to recommend compensation,” he said. A study team comprising officials of the horticulture and agriculture marketing departments have been directed to submit a report on the extent of the damage in a week’s time. Onions are grown in about 84,000 hectares in the State.
Rajashekar Menasinkai, Hubli APMC elected member and Congressman, said the situation was not as bad as being projected in the media. “Today’s price for the lowest quality of onions is Rs 500 a quintal, medium quality around Rs 1,500 and high quality is ruling anywhere between Rs 2,000 and Rs 3,000. The arrivals from Bagalkot and Bijapur to the Hubli market are good. As of now, there is no distress sale of onions,” he added.
Jayachandra said the State government would write to the Centre to relax its diktat that procurement of maize be held back for a period of two months.
“The Centre’s direction comes as the previous process of procurement of maize had just been completed by paying a minimum support price of Rs 1,350 per quintal. We have completed the process of auctioning 7.5 lakh tonnes of maize procured at an average price of Rs 850 per tonne. The Centre has sought a gap of two months for the next procurement process as there is a possibility of the auctioned maize being sold back to the government,” the minister said.
Jayachandra said the State would seek a reduction in the time gap to one month in the interest of genuine farmers who have standing maize crop.