From the Viewsroom

The turmeric farmers’ uprising

Kurmanath KV | Updated on April 30, 2019 Published on April 30, 2019

They will contest against the PM in Varanasi, and why not?

About 180 turmeric farmers have contested the Nizamabad Lok Sabha election. Twenty six turmeric farmers from Telangana have filed nominations in Varanasi, taking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Why are so many farmers joining the fray? Why are they so angry? Besides stumping up a deposit of ₹25,000, each candidate will have to get an endorsement by at least 10 local voters. And, then you need a lawyer’s help to vet the papers. That is a lot of time, money and effort, especially at the fag end of the rabi season.

Talking to the contestants, or any farmer, one can see the palpable pain and anger. Pain, because no one is listening to them, and anger, because they are not getting remunerative prices. The prices, which ruled above ₹10,000 a tonne two years ago, have fallen to just ₹4,000 now.

The farmers have a one-point agenda — set up a Turmeric Board, on the lines of the one established for tobacco farmers. They feel that an exclusive Board will look into the problems and challenges that they are facing. Besides remunerative prices and predictability in procurement, a Board would help develop new varieties and improve yields. In fact, their demand for a Turmeric Board is more than two decades old. So, the farmers have now chosen to tap the ballot route to make the State and Central governments take their demand seriously.

It is not fair to make them waste their energies on protests when they are supposed focus on kharif preparations.

Published on April 30, 2019

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