Agri Business

Cauvery water row hits commodity movement

Vishwanath Kulkarni Gayathri G Bengaluru/Chennai | Updated on January 16, 2018

A view of the onion market yard at the Yeshwanthpur APMC, Bengaluru on Friday.   -  GRN SOMASHEKAR

The disruption of road transport between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over sharing of the Cauvery river water in the past few days has impacted the movement of commodities such as onions, poultry products, turmeric, tea and tomatoes, among others. This has resulted in the price of perishables, mainly onions, falling as the new crop has started reaching markets in Southern Karnataka.

“Onion prices are down by about 30-40 per cent over the last week as there is hardly any movement to Tamil Nadu,” said Byraveswara Swamy, a trader in Bengaluru. The best quality onions ruled at ₹10-11 a kg at the wholesale level against ₹12-15 last week, whereas the average quality traded at ₹7-8 a kg against last week’s ₹10-11.

Huge impact

Tamil Nadu is the biggest destination for the onions that arrive into Bengaluru’s Yeshawantpur market yard. “About 40 per cent of the market arrivals into Bengaluru normally goes to TN,” said Girish Bayanna of Sri Bhagya Lakshmi & Co, an onion trader. About 250-300 truckloads, each weighing 10-12 tonnes, are sent to TN from Bengaluru on a daily basis.

As trucks registered in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are hesitant to cross the border, some traders are trying to transport onions in vehicless registered in other States, such as Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. However, the quantum of onions moved is hardly a tenth of the average daily movement between the two States, Swamy added.

SV Raghunathan, Chief Executive of exporter Vikram Global Commodities, said that besides onion, movement of vegetables such as tomato and carrot from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu has been impacted. Tamil Nadu is a large consumer of tomatoes and carrots grown in Kolar. The exports of onions, especially the rose onion variety grown in Kolar, has also been hit in the past few days. “We are not able to move the onions from Karnataka,” Raghunathan said. Onions from South India, especially the Rose Onion variety, are grown in the neighbouring districts of Bengaluru, such as Kolar and Chikkaballapur, and are exported to South-East Asian countries such as Malaysia and Singapore through the Chennai port.

Egg standstill

Similarly, the movement of eggs from Tamil Nadu to Karnataka has been impacted. Approximately, 25-30 lakh eggs per day are sent to Karnataka from Namakkal. But, this has come to a standstill because of the tension in the border regions. “Thankfully, domestic demand has picked up in Tamil Nadu after the austere Aadi season and we are able to manage. But broiler birds and feed supply are hit,” said a poultry trader. The National Egg Coordination Committee, Namakkal zone, has kept the rates of broiler birds unchanged at ₹74/kg for the past week. Of the 75 lakh broiler birds processed in a week, a tenth are sold to Karnataka.

Transport of poultry-feed too is affected as 80 per cent of the feed ingredients are being procured from other States. Maize, an important ingredient in the poultry feed, is brought from the neighbouring State — apart from Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra — to feed about 4.5 crore layer birds in Namakkal.

Also, the dispatch of turmeric to North India from Erode has been affected by the unrest over Cauvery and stocks of turmeric are piling up with traders and farmers. “Already the traders are in a dilemma over non-receipt of upcountry orders for turmeric. As the recent unrest in Karnataka has disrupted transport services, traders are forced to sell turmeric for a lower price at their premises,” said RKV Ravishankar, a trader in Erode. The disruption in transport is also affecting the realisations of turmeric farmers.

Published on September 20, 2016

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