TIRUCHY: Eating healthy has always been a topic of discussion on several social media platforms. It scaled new heights when the lockdown began last March. One of the aspects often discussed is replacing white sugar with healthier alternatives like country sugar, often known as 'nattu sakkarai'. While companies are making a fortune selling these alternatives, farmers opine that they don't benefit much from it.
Two youths from Tiruchy decided to help such farmers and take their produce directly to the consumer. Manoj Dharmar and Vasanthanidhi ran into a few sugarcane farmers while travelling to Dharmapuri. When they heard their stories, the two decided to help the farmers.
The posts they published on social media received several queries and the youths decided to procure the produce from the farmers, package it and deliver it to consumers. The duo has already received 150 kg of pre-order for country sugar. They plan to open a start-up and help more farmers in the coming months.
"We see many brands selling so called 'organic' country sugar, which is a sham. Just before going to Dharmapuri, I had seen a video about how some of these branded items are adulterated. When I met some farmers on my trip, I realised that their products are much better than those on market. I posted some videos and photos of these farmers on social media and a lot of people wanted to know how they could purchase it. That's when I decided to help them out by taking their produce directly to consumers," said Manoj.
These sugarcane farmers work between Dharmapuri and Palacode. The profits they earn by selling sugarcane as country sugar is far greater than selling it as it is. Manoj and Vasanthanidhi are paying the farmers Rs 10 to Rs 15 kg more than wholesalers.
"Since there is lot of awareness now about the benefits of country sugar, the demand has increased. Usually, hydrogen sulfate is added while making this sugar. However, we have requested the farmers to make it without adding it," added Manoj.
He explained that these farmers have mills nearby to crush the sugarcane. A total of 1.4 tonnes of sugarcane yields about 650 litres of juice, which is then processed.
Manoj had earlier helped avocado farmers in Kodaikanal in August and lemon farmers at MR Palayam.