ERODE: When people think about farmers, tech-savvy is not the first word that comes to mind. Kannaiyan Subramaniam from Erode, however, would beg to differ as he has sold around 42 tonnes of cabbage with the help of social media.
The 50-year-old is a native of Arachalur, here and owns a 3.5 acre farmland at Vaddarahalli village, Chamraj district in Karnataka.
Like any other farmer, he was in deep distress when the lockdown was put in place as he realised that selling his produce would not be easy. He had cultivated around 100 tonnes of cabbage in his field which was ready to be harvested in the first week of April.
But Kannaiyan, who is also the South India Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements General Secretary, thought out of the box and decided to post a video on social media. It was just another effort of his to sell his crops before the entire lot went to waste, as some of them had indeed begun to rot.
"On April 18, I uploaded a video of my ready to harvest cabbages on Twitter with no expectation. I was surprised when my son told me that the tweet had gone viral with many users re-tweeting it by tagging potential buyers and helpers," said the farmer.
More than thirty thousand users have viewed the video and around ten thousand users have re-tweeted it so far.
Within a couple of days, Karnataka Member of Parliament Tejasvi Surya from BJP came forward to buy some of Kannaiyan's harvest.
"I am thankful to the MP for showing solidarity and a gesture of goodwill by immediately procuring around 12 tonnes of cabbage which he distributed to the needy. Several other farm product traders extended their support as well. So far I have sold around 42 tonnes of my produce." he added.
For Kannaiyan, making a profit was not a major concern. He said that he would be happy if he could cover the cost of cultivation and deliver his produce to the needy.
"Over the past one week, I received hundreds of phone calls from people across the country. I was overwhelmed when people from Bihar, Hyderabad, etc, called to check on me. Some even said that farmers like me are in their prayers," he stated.
Beyond making a trade on twitter, a few commoners contacted Kannaiyan and told that they would send money and wanted him to donate the cabbages to the underprivileged.
"As per their requests, I have sent about eight tonnes of cabbage to Gudalur in The Nilgiris district for tribals and four tonnes to tribals in Thalavady," he added.
Appeal to the government
Kannaiyan said that the government should set up local collection centres where people can directly buy farm produces and also stated that cold storage facilities must be provided to store corps.
He further added that enough relief fund should be allocated by the State and Central government for the farmers as they are devastated due to the lockdown.
"Many farmers are facing difficulty in selling their produce. It is essential to make sure that the supply chain is not broken."
The Erode native who has shown that farmers need not stick to traditional methods when the going gets tough, is expecting to harvest around 20 more tonnes in the coming week. Interested buyers can contact him at 94449 89543.