COIMBATORE: Due to the nation-wide lockdown to control the spread of COVID-19, farmers from Karamadai block were unable to bring their produce to markets. Because of the non-availability of vehicles to transport their produce, many farmers allowed residents to pluck the produce from their farm free of cost.
Rangaraj, a farmer from Tholampalayam, who had cultivated watermelon at his one acre land, is among many farmers who allowed residents to take his produce for free. He said that he was unable to transport the watermelon to a market at Karamadai about 15 km from his farmland.
Similarly another farmer, Sampathkumar from Neelampathi near Karamadai who cultivated tomato at his 1.5 acres did not harvest it citing that wage he has to pay labourers and the transportation costs, which he deems high. He pointed that traders offered only Rs 6-7 per kg of tomato, while retailers sell it over Rs 45.
Durai, a farmer who has a banana plantation at Velliankadu, cited the same reasons when asked why he did not head to the market to sell his produce. He said he sells the bananas to petty shops in his village at `50 a bunch. “Most farmers in Tholampalayam have small farmlands. On a normal day, a group of farmers rent a mini tempo to take their produce to Karamadai town.
Now, due to implementation of Section 144 of CrPC, farmers have not teamed together to take their produce to market,” said V Rajendran from Tholampalayam. He claimed that farmers are presently offered Rs 7-9 per for a kg of brinjal by traders (while the retail price for the same is Rs 90). Rajendran added that with very few traders present at markets, auctions are not taking place.