The novel coronavirus (nCov2019) outbreak in China has adversely impacted prices of chillies in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Congress MP KVP Ramachandra Rao in the Rajya Sabha. Raising the issue in the House on Thursday, Rao said that coronavirus is adversely affecting farmers of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
He stated that Guntur in Andhra Pradesh is the biggest export market with 5,000 tons of Tejas variety of chill, of which 60 per cent is imported by China annually.
"China has suspended chilli imports, so the chilli farmers are badly hit and prices are going down. Due to slump in Tejas chilli exports, prices of other chilli varieties are also falling. Farmers are resorting to distress selling," Rao added.
The Congress leader also urged the government to see that remunerative prices are ensured for chilli farmers and to the extent possible that Food Corporation of India (FCI) provides storage facility under refrigeration, safekeeping till the situation improves.
The Congress leader urged the central government to take measures to protect the interest of farmers of these two states and also sought insurance cover for their crops until the situation gets better for exports.
Responding to the point, Rajya Sabha Chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu, while acknowledging that chilli prices are witnessing a slump, asked Rao to check the facts about coronavirus affecting the prices.
Meanwhile, the death toll in China has climbed to 636 with 73 mortalities on Thursday, while the total number of confirmed cases crossed 31,000, Chinese health officials said on Friday.
Several international airlines, including Air India and IndiGo, have cancelled flights to China over fears of the virus spreading across the world, a move which Beijing described as being against World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.
Several countries including India and the US have also announced travel bans.