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Tamil Nadu: Cabbage Price Plummets, Left to Rot in Kodaikanal Hills

Small and marginal farmers in Attuvampatti village near Kodaikanal hills are facing a grim situation as their fully grown cabbage crops are being left to decay in the fields. The farmers, plagued by the prospect of receiving unfair returns, are devastated by the alarmingly low prices being offered by merchants in the wholesale market.

Shivam Dwivedi
Tamil Nadu: Cabbage Price Plummets, Left to Rot in Kodaikanal Hills (Photo Source: Pixabay)
Tamil Nadu: Cabbage Price Plummets, Left to Rot in Kodaikanal Hills (Photo Source: Pixabay)

Vairaperumal, a 67-year-old farmer, expressed his disbelief at the current situation. He stated that he was offered a meager Rs 8 to Rs 10 per kilogram for his cabbage, whereas the same produce was sold for Rs1,000 per bag last year. In comparison, he had sold his cabbage for Rs 25 to Rs 30 per kilogram last year.

Vairaperumal has made the difficult decision to let the cabbage rot in the fields instead of incurring additional expenses for cutting charges. Regrettably, all the crops grown on his two-acre farm have resulted in losses this season. He had reinvested all his profits from the previous year, hoping for a reasonable income, but the situation has taken an unexpected turn.

Another farmer in the village attributed the price crash to the high yield and large coverage of cabbage this year. He expressed the need for infrastructure support and government subsidies to alleviate the burden faced by farmers in such situations. By sharing the responsibility, farmers could withstand the challenges more effectively.

The Deputy Director of Horticulture, J. Perumalsami, explained that the extensive coverage of cabbage crops had led to an overwhelming supply, causing a decline in demand. However, he expressed optimism that the procurement price could improve within the next two weeks. Additionally, some farmers prefer to sell their produce in the Madurai market, where they may receive Rs 10 or more per kilogram, rather than the Oddanchatram wholesale market.

An official from Oddanchatram reported that cabbage was being sold at Rs 12 per kilogram in the wholesale market and Rs 30 per kilogram in retail outlets. In the Uzhavar Sandhai, the price hovered around Rs 20 per kilogram.

The plight of flower grower Ayyamperumal from Chinnalapatti mirrors that of Vairaperumal. Ayyamperumal revealed that his sammangi flowers were being sold for a meager Rs 5 per kilogram. He had spent Rs 1,000 to cultivate the crop but only earned Rs 300 in income after selling his flowers at the Anna Flower Market in Dindigul. At the end of the day, around four tonnes of unsold sammangi flowers remained in the market. Usually, there are substantial orders for sammangi flowers from wedding halls and fragrance manufacturers, especially from markets in Kerala.

However, due to the scorching sun and the absence of auspicious occasions, flower growers have been left empty-handed. Other varieties of flowers, including jasmine, panneer rose, sendumalli, and kanakambaram, are also cultivated in Chinnalapatti, Sembatti, Kanniwadi, Thadicombu, Vellodu, Siluvathur, and surrounding villages in Dindigul district. Last week, sammangi flowers were sold for Rs 100 per kilogram, but on Tuesday, the price had plummeted to Rs 5 per kilogram.

The challenging circumstances faced by farmers in Attuvampatti village highlight the need for immediate intervention and support from the government. Infrastructural development, subsidies, and better market access can help mitigate the financial losses experienced by these small and marginal farmers. Without timely assistance, they may continue to suffer from diminishing returns and a growing sense of uncertainty about their agricultural endeavors.

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