‘Fruits’ of labour remain unsold

Agriculture COVID-19 Food

Farmers in Mudhol are in a fix with no place to sell their harvest of fruits.

Rahul Padman

Bengaluru, April 15, 2020

The month of April is the time of spring and harvest festivals when demand for fresh vegetable spikes.  But, as the lockdown continues, the farmers fear a loss as they are unable to reach buyers.

Nagral village of Mudhol has vast cultivation of seasonal vegetables such as tomatoes, chillies, ginger, brinjal, mostly perishables that bring in the income to reinvest in the farms. More than 6 acres of chillies and 7 acres of tomatoes are harvested and ready to go to the market. However, this year, the situation is far different from the norm. Farmers are struggling to sell their produce to the consumer as they are stopped by the police at the entrance to Mudhol town where they sell the crops. Vegetables that are essential commodities are rotting in the farms due to the police blockade. Jagannath Shirbur, a resident of Mudhol says, “I am worried that the crops may have to be discarded despite the time and efforts invested by all the farmers”.

The Government of Karnataka has given instructions to the agriculture departments in the State to take proactive measures to help farmers and the agriculture office at Mudhol has taken initiatives to link farmers to the buyers. The farmers will have to go to the agriculture office to register their details such as their name, location, destination, etc. The farmers are then provided with a pass once they register with the agriculture office, says Renuka Gowda, Agriculture Officer at Mudhol Agriculture Department. “Most of the farmers are unaware of the new process set up by our office. There is a surge in the number of farmers approaching the office for passes. The Horticulture department is separately supervising their crops and had been issuing separate passes for the farmers,” she added.

Ex Official of the Agriculture Department, Dhanesh Kumar says, “This is a unique situation where the farmers have to be well informed about the facilities provided by the government by listening to radio, TV or if possible, through social media. Creating awareness is important. Many officers are not working during the lockdown and those who are, are very busy. Farmers must take advantage of all the privileges offered by the government.”

There is a growing concern of a potential shortage of fresh food supplies among consumers as disruptions occur to the hitherto seamless supply chain network that transported these commodities from its rural origin to the urban cities.


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