Agri Business

With no buyers, farmers stall cultivation of exotic vegetables

LN Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on April 20, 2020

With no takers for exotic vegetables, farmers in Kotagiri belt claim that there has been no market for the farm produce after March 25.

“The lockdown has brought farm operations to a halt. We had encountered difficult times in the past - extreme drought/ flooding of fields, animal menace and in not being able to get a fair price for the produce, but none of those had impacted us as badly as the present,” said Chandran, a native of Kookulthurai village in Kotagiri.

Stating that life has come to a standstill for such of those farmers engaged in the cultivation of exotic vegetables such as lettuce, iceberg, broccoli, celery, parsley, zucchini and rosemary, he said: “Companies guarantee a buy-back of the produce and fix the rate. Some even supply seedlings and handhold during the growth phase. We were happy with the arrangement as we could focus on the crop. But with the three-star and five-star hotels shutting their doors to visitors, these companies could not only find takers for such vegetables but were unable to lift them as well.”

Further, for close to a month now, we have not been able to transport the vegetables to the markets in Karnataka and Kerala, because of restrictions in inter-State movement, he added.

Chandran said that he had let the produce rot in the field. “I’ve lost produce worth ₹1.5-2 lakh. Cleaning the field is going to be a bigger problem.”

These are generally short-duration crops, harvested in 60 to 70 days. Not anticipating a lockdown situation, farmers continued to bank on the support from such companies and raised the crop in their 1.5 to 2 acre holding.

Now, they have no clue as to when to commence crop cultivation, as it would take a much longer time for the buyers (star hotels) to come to terms with sourcing such vegetables.

“I think I’ll go back to carrot, cabbage and beetroot,” said another, hoping that at least these would give some respite.

Published on April 20, 2020

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