The ambitious project of the Kerala State Horticultural Products Development Corporation Ltd (Horticorp) to make available agriculture and fruit produce from Kerala to major cities in the country has been abandoned halfway as the consignments were not getting proper payments.
Agriculture Minister K P Mohanan had inaugurated the project in New Delhi on November 11 last year to make available Kerala products, mainly bananas.
Sruthi Arts, a joint venture of Kudumbasree and Janasree, started selling the produce in two vehicles in New Delhi and later stopped.
Horticorp Managing Director K Prathapan said the involvement of the Corporation has become a facilitator for marketing the products now. When the products were transported to New Delhi by train, the payment was delayed which resulted in Horticorp not been able to pay the money to the farmers. “The government cannot go ahead with the huge loss through the project and thus abandoned it. Now, farmers are selling their products through their societies to major cities in the country,” Prathapan said.
Though pineapple growers made an attempt to market their products through Horticorp, they found it unviable. Horticorp transported the products through trains, which often damaged the produce when it reach the destination. Pineapple Farmers Association president Jose Kalapura said transportation by road is profitable for them. The trucks will reach the farm land, where the product could be transported on the day of harvest. “The expense for transportation by train increases by `10 a kg when compared to the road transportation. During the peak season, 100 loads of pineapple, with a total capacity of 1,000 tonnes, are transported from Kerala and during the off season, it comes to around 30 loads,” Jose Kalapura said.
The Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council (VFPC) is now marketing the bananas through self-help groups of farmers.
VFPC chief executive officer S Sivaprasad said traders can purchase bananas directly from the farmers avoiding the middlemen.
The price is fixed by the VFPC and the suitable market will be arranged for farmers.