IDUKKI: Farmers in Kerala are facing the brunt of the lockdown as they are not able to sell their produce in the markets.
Farmers who cultivated strawberries and carrots in Munnar area of Idukki told ANI that they are facing issues as majority of the retail stores in the state are closed due to the spread of coronavirus.
"Strawberry is mostly sold in retail markets and they are shut due to lockdown," said Arul Mani, a recipient of Best Strawberry Farmer Award.
Notably, in a relief to farmers during the lockdown, the Centre has granted relaxation to agriculture-farming and allied activities to ensure uninterrupted harvesting of crops.
The Union Home Ministry has issued the second addendum to the guidelines related to the nationwide lockdown and activities related to agriculture have been brought under the exception category from the 21-day lockdown enforced in the country to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
A release by Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Ministry stated that the step will allow unhindered harvesting of crops.
The categories exempted from the lockdown include agencies engaged in procurement of agriculture products, including MSP (minimum support price) operations and `mandis' operated by the Agriculture Produce Market Committee or as notified by the state government.
It also includes farming operations by farmers and farmworkers in the field and 'Custom Hiring Centres (CHC)' related to farm machinery.
Manufacturing and packaging units of fertilisers, pesticides and seed and intra and inter-state movement of harvesting and sowing related machines are also in the exempted category.