April 15, 2020, Bengaluru
Low purchase rates from Horticulture Department hit farmers to reach the city
Farmers who toil hard to guarantee food in our plates are among the worst hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Transportation on fruits and vegetables is bearing heavy on the pockets of farmers across the state.
Earlier the farmers sold their items to the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) and city market. Now both are closed, hence they sell to HOPCOMS. HOPCOMS is a government run farmers’ society that enables direct marketing of farmers’ produce.
Naveen Kumar, a farmer said, “If the load is more than a ton then we can expect to earn more. Otherwise considering how much we ear, transportation gets very expensive. Therefore, HOPCOMS should increase the purchasing price of fruits and vegetables.”
COVID-19 has increased the supply of fruits and vegetables through farmers to Horticulture Producer’s Cooperative Marketing and Processing Society Limited (HOPCOMS). This has resulted in an increase of purchase and sales of fruits and vegetables.. Before the lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic, purchases were nearly 50 to 60 tones every day, but now they have doubled up to 120-130 tonnes, a day.People across the state from Gulbarga to Kolar are supplying fruits and vegetables to the main office, but due to more supply of stocks, their prices have decreased. This is affecting the farmers severely.
Lack of organizing the stocks has led to a decrease in prices, said Ram Murthy, General Manager at HOPCOMS. He also recommended that the Horticulture Department should start a mobile vegetable vending system across the city and in panchayats to minimize the transportation cost and increase the farmers’ revenue as it is better than them visiting the main office in Bangalore..
He added,“We conducted meetings and decided to inform the Horticulture Department to appoint their department officers in taluks and purchase fruits and vegetables through the government and further to deploy government vehicles in taluks to transport the items to the main office in Bangalore. By this, we can easily access the items and concentrate on their sales. Now we are waiting for the department to pass orders.”
The lockdown has caused HOPCOMS to have limited employees. Their work load has also increased manifold. Thus, HOPCOMS have requested for some employees from the Horticulture Department to carry over the sales. The HOPCOMS recently informed that the Mango board is not yet finalized, they are planning to do it once the pandemic is under control.In some incidents, farmers have destroyed their crops in the fields and have thrown it on the road because of transportation issues and low purchase price.