KOCHI: With Onam two weeks away, the city is slowly waking up to a festive fervour. The markets are readying to welcome Kochiites and vegetable market is no different.
Aiming to make up for the huge loss last year, Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Keralam (VFPCK), Kudumbashree and CPM have once again come together to ensure that Kochiites have an organic Onam feast.
Like every year, CPM is ready with their pesticide-free organic vegetables this Onam too. Except for the farms in Paravoor area that were affected in the recent flood, each local committee have done enough to conduct Onam market this year.
“Stalls will be set up across the district with organic, fresh vegetables cultivated by the party members. There are groups involved in farming within the party and a few of them cultivate in their houses,” said Chandrasekharan, CPM Lenin Centre office secretary.
The Onam market will start a week before the festival and the pricing will be as per market rates. Other markets will be run by Horticorp, VFPCK and Agriculture Department from September 7 to 10. The plan is to set up 2,000 stalls across the state with 150 by VFPCK, 1350 by Agriculture Department and 500 by Horticorp. “In the district, there will be 13 stalls by VFPCK. The location has not been finalised,” said an official from the marketing division of VFPCK.
The markets will have products procured from farmers and the pricing will be based on the market rate. “We aim to provide products farmed within the state. But, some vegetables are not produced in Kerala and Horticorp will procure them from outside,” he added.
With flood playing spoilsport during the previous Onam, Kudumbashree’s Onam fairs proved a dud. However, Kudumbashree plans to make up for it by conducting this year’s fair with the cooperation of 101 Community Development Societies (CDS).
Besides vegetables, fruits, snack items and payasam kits will be available in Kudumbashree markets. “We have directed the CDS to have at least a product from each unit. It can be anything from vegetables to packed products like chips or payasam. We are also looking at the possibilities of including products that can be sold loose,” said Rajeena T M, Assistant District Mission Coordinator.
The markets will start functioning from September 7 and they plan to continue till Thiruvonam. “Each CDS market will have a minimum of 15 micro enterprising units. Each unit will sell different products,” said Rajeena. Also, a district-level fair and food fest will be hosted at Government Boys Higher Secondary School, Perumbavoor, from September 4.
One of the specialities of the fair is that it will be eco-friendly. “We have decided to not use plastic covers. Even the flex will be made of cloth,” she said. According to her, the packaging is a problem. “Many people do not buy the product if it is not packed properly. So, this year’s fair will see better packing and labelling,” she added.
A committee has been formed to decide the price of the products. “The price will be less than the market price. In previous years, we have sold vegetables with a margin of `100 from the market price,” said Rajeena.