BHOPAL: After deciding not to export their produce to Pakistan in the wake of the February 14 terror attack in Pulwama, tomato-growers in Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh are eyeing Dubai as the new overseas lifeline for their business.
Cultivators spread in over 40 villages in Petlawad block of the district have made it clear to exporters in the national capital that they will not sell their produce for being exported to Pakistan, but are ready to sell if the produce is exported to Dubai.
District president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, Mahendra Amad said, “... we’re ready to render our produce, if it is exported to Dubai, which will mean the tomatoes of Petlawad can have access to newer overseas markets in the Middle East.”
“During the last season also, some part of the produce was exported by Delhi-based exporters to Dubai, which fetched us a good profit, though around 25-30% lower than when it was exported to Pakistan,” said Amad.
Tomato farming has dominated the landscape of the region since the last two decades and according to cultivators, the produce has been exported to Pakistan since a decade.
“Be it the farmers in agricultural fields or our jawans on the border or Jammu and Kashmir; it’s the son of farmers and not the children of politicians who have been dying. We’re no longer going to allow the tomatoes to be exported to Pakistan,” said farmer Basanti Lal Patidar.
Two other tomato farmers Bherulal and Ravindra Patidar appealed to both the Central and the state government to help find newer overseas markets.
The tomato season here spans from October to mid-February. “The impact of our refusal will be felt across the border from next season only, by when, we hope to offset the losses by exporting the same produce to Dubai, which will be our gateway to the Middle East. During the season, 15-20 consignments of tomatoes are sent to Delhi from our fields. Each consignment contains around 125 quintals,” Amad said speaking to the media.
Beef politics returns
Just a few days before the Election Commission of India (ECI) is expected to announce the dates of the 2019 general elections, a senior national leader of the BJP has raked-up the issue of “beef eating” by a first-time Congress MLA in MP. In an oblique attack on All India Muslim Personal Law Board member and first time Congress MLA from Bhopal Central seat Arif Masood on Saturday, the BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said “it’s a matter of concern and shame for all workers of the party as to how a beef-eater man won the election from here.”