Farmers unable to sell produce due to lockdown

PADMAVATI PRABHU
Saturday, 25 April 2020

As the agricultural items are highly perishable and have lesser shelf life, especially vegetables and fruits, famers have started adopting new methods like selling their produce along the roads and moving around the villages to sell their produce.

PANAJI: With the markets across the State continuing to remain closed, farmers across the State are facing problems in marketing and selling their agricultural produce like vegetables, pulses and seasonal fruits, among others.

As the agricultural items are highly perishable and have lesser shelf life, especially vegetables and fruits, famers have started adopting new methods like selling their produce along the roads and moving around the villages to sell their produce. But even with these methods, they have not managed to get the expected returns.

"Every year we used to grow nearly 50 kgs of halsando on a small plot of land in Moira which we used to sell to a shopkeeper in Mapusa. As the market is shut, the shopkeeper said that he will not buy it as it would be difficult for him also to sell it on a retail basis," said 64-year-old Carmelina who now sits along the main road to sell her produce.

"This year we have cultivated nearly 46 kgs of halsando and it is not possible to store it also for too long," she lamented stating that after sitting along the road for almost ten days, she has managed to sell merely four kilos of halsando.

Surekha, who grows vegetables like radish, chillies, red amaranthus, among calls up people in and around nearby villages to find buyers for her produce.

"Till March, I had no problem of getting buyers for the produce as I used to sell it in Mapusa market in bulk. Now that the markets are closed, I have to find people who will buy these vegetables. Storage too is a problem as they are highly perishable," she said.

The story of Sangolda-based Pratima, who has her field in Parra, is no different. She said they grow about 250-300 kgs of halsando and chawli every year which they directly sell to a shopkeeper in Mapusa.

"With the current situation, we have to sell it to people from home only. But the sale is not so much. The remaining will have to be stored," she said. 

She also said that they sell spring onions and vegetables along the fields.

"When people going on that route stop to buy them, we ask then if they want halsando and chawli and get it on the next day for selling," she said.

Nilima, who is in her fifties, has decided to roam in areas of Porvorim to sell vegetables and fruits like radish, red amaranthus, papayas, drumsticks, etc.

"I used to sell these vegetables in bulk to a vendor in Panaji. Now that the markets are closed, I have decided to adopt the same method that mother used to sell the produce in the nineties. She used to go around the villages to sell vegetables. It is really difficult considering the summer season. There is no other option too right now," said Nilima.

Speaking to GT, Goa State Horticultural Corporation Limited (GSHCL) Managing Director Sandeep Faldesai said that the Corporation is making all efforts to procure vegetables from local farmers through the vegetable collection centres at taluka-level. 

"Since the lockdown the Corporation has managed to procured over 75 tonnes of vegetables from over 80 farmers across the State. These include lady finger, bottle gourd, brinjal, cluster beans, cucumber, green chillies, long beans, tomato, carrot, among others," he said. 

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