Betel leaf no longer a lucrative crop
Farmers complain of pest attack and say no remedy is being offered by officials
Finishing his bath and wearing a tilak , S. Srisailam enters the farm leaving his footwear outside. Everyone does the same before entering the farm.
A partition woven out of twigs is made so that wind does not enter the farm and spoil the betel leaves being grown inside.
Srisailam is one among the 10 farmers including Dasari Veeranna and Boina Sattaiah of Anantasagar village in Sadashivapet mandal who took more than an acre of land on lease for ₹ 1 lakh for a two-year period. Later, they invested in quality creeper seed and goat waste . The farmers are paying as much as ₹ 4,000 for one tractor of goat droppings and ₹ 1,000 for spreading it across the farm. One acre of land requires as much as 13 tractors of goat-waste.
Unlike in normal farming where farmers make a joint investment and share the returns after selling the total output, here the farmers divide their land from day one on wards and take care of it like their own baby, literally. The yield is also divided based on the investment. They had prepared the land suitable for betel leaf cultivation by digging small vertical and horizontal channels for better water supply.
Anantasagar, Marepally and Saidapur in Sadashivapet mandal were once famous for betel leaf cultivation in hundreds of acres. The farmers claim that they used to earn a revenue of ₹ 2.5 lakh on an investment of ₹ 50,000 in the past. The revenues they generated used to be so huge that two farmers — Ravinder Goud and Khairat Miya — who got selection in the CRPF discontinued their job about 25 years ago as they were earning more than their salary in a week’s time.The farmers also plant sada (a plant which grows like bamboo) after planting the betel creeper. It would grow along with that plant which grows for more than 10-foot height. Betel leaves are being exported to neighbouring Karanataka and Tamil Nadu. Two farmers – Mahaboob and Kahleel – who migrated from Degulbadi in Chincholi village of Gulbarga in Karanataka have settled here and are involved in the trading .
“Even a child used to see ₹ 1,000 by selling betel leaves. Presently the crop is being attacked by pests for the past several years and no remedy is being offered by officials. The crop was reduced to only 10 acres,” said Mr. Srisailam.
Source: THE HINDU