COIMBATORE: Amid the stories of farmers struggling to sell their produce in the markets due to lockdown, there are these farmers, who with a ray of hope, associated themselves with the consumer forums and NGO to sell their agriculture produce at the doorsteps of the consumers, particularly in the gated-communities and apartments in the city.
Venturing outside the house to buy vegetable, with masks and gloves on, one would consider vegetables as gold during this time. However, now hundreds of farmers are able to reap benefits of their produce with a higher margin of 30-40 per cent than what they usually get while selling it to the traders. Even the consumers save a minimum of 40 per cent on their spending against agriculture produce at shops and supermarkets.
With the timely help provided by the consumer forums and NGOs, the way the farmers sell their produce have changed since the pandemic. Now, farmers in the district are jointly functioning with the consumer forum and NGO such as Citizen Voice, Consumer Cause, Tamil Nadu Consumer Council, Anti-Corruption Movement and AIMS for bringing their fresh produce directly to the doorsteps of 15 apartments and gated communities in the district at a lower price.
According to Farmers Association (Non-Political), the organisation helped the farmers to get a platform for selling their produce directly to the consumers without middlemen.
Speaking to TNIE, P Kandasamy, general secretary of farmers association (non-political), said, "In the initial days of lockdown, we came to know that farmers were reeling under crisis as middlemen were buying products for cheap rates and selling it to the consumers at an exorbitant price. For example, carrots were procured at `8 - `10 per kg from farmers and sold above of `80 per kg to consumers."
"With an aim to stop these atrocities, we approached consumer forums, NGOs and sought if they could help in selling the produces directly to consumers. As they gave voluntary support in order to save farmers, now consumers are able to buy agriculture produce at minimum cost than actual market price. At the same time, farmers are getting a better price for their produces," he explained.
He said that seeing this model -- 'Farmers to Consumer' (FTC), residents living at more than ten apartments have invited farmers to bring theirs produce to their doorstep. However, functionaries of a few apartments, who have connections with the shop owners, are seeking entry fee of `600 per day for allowing them to sell farm produce.
Explaining the initiative, CM Jayaraman, founder of citizen's voice, who primarily helped for the initiative, said, "In the last week of March, through Kandasamy, I came to know that traders were not ready to offer `100 for a banana (Kadhali) bunch, but the retail cost of which will be `1,000. On seeing their plight, I asked him to bring bananas to our apartment premises. Within two hours, all bunches were sold out, making farmers and consumers happy."
M M Rajendran, a resident of Krishna Nagar, where the model has been accommodated, said, "It is much benefiting for around 250 residents in the area. We could save a minimum of 40 per cent cost for vegetables and fruits. For example, we were buying spinach bundle at `20 from shops, but now we get it for just `8."