JEYPORE: At a time when potatoes are becoming dearer and markets experiencing short supply, tribal women of Purimumda village under Dasmantpur block in Koraput are raking in moolah by taking up the tuber cultivation organically and finding takers in faraway Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. The sale of potatoes is fetching them a price of Rs 1,200 per quintal as compared to Rs 800 locally.
Under the aegis of Mission Jeevika of Koraput ITDA, around 10 tribal women SHG members of the village turned into farmers and succeeded in cultivating 2,500 quintal of organic potatoes on 50 acre of land. Using locally available fertilisers made of cow dung and leaves, the beneficiary farmers cultivated the Khurpri Jyoti variety of potatoes during the ongoing kharif season.
Initially, some of the produce was sold in the local Semiliguda market but not many opted for it. The women sought the intervention of the ITDA officials who then linked them with businessmen in Gorakhpur of Uttar Pradesh. “We produced up to 52 quintal of potato per acre of land and were able to transport it to UP with the support of government agencies,” said Bhagabati Chapadia, a farmer of Purimumda.
Koraput ITDA project manager SP Mohanty, who has been monitoring the scheme, said the initiative has helped tribal women become self-reliant. “Each farmer has made a profit of around Rs 60,000 and we are ensuring that they get a good market for their produce,” added Mohanty.
The hilly terrain of Dasmantpur is suitable for potato cultivation and district administration is lending all assistance to encourage farmers for vegetable farming to provide them with a consistent source of income.