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AP chilli-growers see red

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Farmers burning chillies in protest against the steep fall in prices, in front of the market yard in Guntur on Tuesday -- T. Vijaya Kumar
THE HINDU Farmers burning chillies in protest against the steep fall in prices, in front of the market yard in Guntur on Tuesday -- T. Vijaya Kumar

Chilli farmers of Guntur, in Andhra Pradesh, are seeing red. Prices of the key spices crop have slumped to Rs 5,000-6,000 a quintal (100 kg) from the highs of Rs 9,500 last week for the premium badiga variety. Other varieties, which sold in the Rs 5,000-6,000 range last week, have few buyers at Rs 3,000.

As much as the heavy arrivals from Kurnool and other districts of AP, which produces nearly 70 per cent of the country’s crop, the growers are blaming the traders, alleging them to be in collusion with exporters in depressing the prices.

They also raised slogans against the State Government for what they called ignoring their plight. Trade sources attributed the price slump to a bumper crop in Madhya Pradesh and a slowdown in exports.

On Tuesday, the agitated growers staged a demonstration in front of the market yard here, the biggest in the State, and some even burnt a few bags of chilli. A section also blocked traffic and had to be persuaded by the police to allow the movement of vehicles.

(This article was published on January 10, 2012)
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