A kilogramme of pumpkin is currently priced at a mere Rs. 05.
Speaking, a farmer from Kahatagahapitiya area, .M. Samankumara says : "I planted three acres of pumpkin at the cost of nearly Rs. 200,000. I couldn't even make Rs. 1000 in return. I took the crop to Dambulla where they are putting the price between Rs. 05 - 06 per kilo. Selling at that price wouldn't even cover the seed cost. Now the crop is rotting away and we are ruined."
Farmer - M.M. Seneviratne says : "In mainstream media, it is announced that farmers are given priority and crops are purchased by the government. But where does that actually happen? If that happens, there is a pumpkin crop of 20-30 acres in this area. But who will purchase them? Traders purchase our crops for a mere tuppence. Now, even that doesn't happen. We urge authorities to fix a programme for companies or government institutions to come and buy our crop... for the meals of military, police and prisons, without compelling the farmers to commit suicide."
Meanwhile, Polonnaruwa Agriculture deputy director - Mr. R.P. Upali says that a state purchasing programme does not exist as Pumpkins are not grown on a mass scale in Polonnaruwa.
(Pics : W.A. Piyatillake - Hingurakgoda Corr.)