The rise of rice prices is raising the ire of farmers and rice traders alike.
In an effort to control prices, the government of India has introduced a law that will see the price for rice rise from Rs.2.30 to Rs.3 per kg.
The government is trying to stem the tide of inflation and has also introduced a subsidy scheme to help farmers buy rice at competitive prices.
But with inflation already at 18% and the economy in the doldrums, some say the move may just end up hurting farmers and consumers alike.
“I have already received complaints from the farmers about the price hike.
Some farmers are thinking, if prices are going up, then it is only right that we also go up,” said Shubham Prakash, a farmer from Thiruvannamalai village in Thiruvananthapuram district.
“It has been happening for a long time.
Why is it happening now?
We need a plan to deal with the rising prices and the rising inflation.”
Prakash is not alone.
“I have been paying Rs. 3.30 per kg for my rice for a couple of years now.
But this price hike is not good for me.
I will have to start paying more,” said farmer Birendra Prakal, who works in the field.
The rise in prices has led some farmers to sell their entire crop for rice, a move that has resulted in shortages of rice in the market.
Some rice traders have even started selling the rice for less than the market price.
“The prices of rice have gone up by about 50% in the last three months.
It is a huge issue for us.
We are losing money,” said Rakesh Suresh, who is selling rice from his house.
Suresh and his family have been facing a huge burden, with the prices of their rice at Rs. 4.25 per kg and Rs. 5.10 per kg, respectively, due to the rising cost of rice.
“When we started selling rice, the price was around Rs. 1.50 per kg,” said Sureshi, who sells at the market prices.
“Now, it is Rs. 2.30 and it is going to be a very hard sell for us.”
Sureshi has been selling his rice at the price that he is earning because his family’s income has fallen significantly in the past few years.
“The government has made it a priority to help the poor.
But it has not made it affordable for farmers.
It will take time before we can buy our rice from the market,” said a concerned farmer.
A farmer sells rice at a market in Kurnool, Thiruvaanagar district, India, on March 7, 2020.
Photo credit: Vasant Varma/UPI