Maharashtra: Call to ban export of tomatoes to Pakistan has farmers worried
Gorakhsingh Mahajansingh Dighor, a farmer from Varud Kazi near Aurangabad, is a worried man. Dighor, who cultivates tomatoes on around 20 acres of his land, is affected by declining prices of agricultural produce and the drought in the area, which falls in Maharashtra’s rain-shadow region of Marathwada.
Dighor says calls for Indian farmers to ban the export of tomatoes to Pakistan will curtail its access to foreign markets and lead to a supply glut in domestic markets, thereby pulling down prices.
Reports said that farmers from Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, and Karnataka have stopped exporting tomatoes and other agricultural produce to Pakistan after the Pulwama terror attacks that killed 44 paramilitary personnel. India also withdrew the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to Pakistan. These developments led to a Pakistani journalist threatening to retaliate with an “atom bomb” in a rant that has since gone viral on Twitter.
“Stopping export of tomatoes to other countries will have an adverse impact on us. We have been cultivating tomatoes as a cash crop. However, we are getting low prices for the past two years, even as costs of production spike. We used to invest around Rs 1.5 to 2 lakh in an acre of land and get around Rs 10 lakh in return. Now, we are unable to make things meet,” Dighor said. He added that one of the reasons for the decline in prices was a supply glut due to more cultivators growing tomatoes.
“Exports should not be curtailed as it affects farmers. However, Pakistan must be taught a lesson,” Dighor urged.
Pratapsingh Dighor, a farmer in Hirapur village said he cultivated tomatoes on around four acres of his 22-acre land. “This year, I could cultivate tomatoes only during the rains as our wells ran out of water later. I had also planted 1,200 pomegranate saplings, but have managed to save just 500,” he added.
Not Worth The Cost
Pratapsingh Dighor, a farmer in Hirapur village said traders from states as far as West Bengal, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Delhi, came to Aurangabad to purchase tomatoes for export. Kachru Naglot, a farmer from Hirapurwadi in the district, said he had been able to get just around Rs 150 per 25 kg crate of tomatoes, against the around Rs 800 two years ago.
Source :- Dnaindia.com