Officials from the State interact with farmers and consumers
For the 25 officials from Odisha, a walk around the ‘uzhavar sandhai’ was an eye-opener. They were seeing for the first time farmers selling their produce directly to consumers in a space provided by the government.
“It is a nice concept” was how the team members reacted after going around the ‘uzhavar sandhai’ on Friday.
Explaining the various features to the visiting officials, agriculture officer K. Arumugam, who is in-charge of the B. B. Kulam Sandhai, said that the State government provides space for the farmers to sell their produce and the prices are fixed by the department officials on a daily basis after arriving at a consensus with the authorities at the wholesale vegetable market so that it is mutually beneficial. The idea is that the farmers get the best price by avoiding middlemen and the end-users get farm fresh commodities at an affordable price. The government also gives free transport facility to the farmers to bring the produce. Recently, the government has also introduced electronic weights for use by the farmers in the sandhai.
Kannan, a farmer, who sells brinjal, potatoes and drumsticks at the sandhai, told the visiting delegates that his daily sales accounts for nearly Rs. 1,500. “My day starts at 7 a.m. in the sandhai and goes on till 1 p.m. On weekends, the sales touch Rs. 2,000 or even more,” he noted. For others, who grow more than one vegetable, the sales tip Rs. 5,000 a day.
On an average, around 125 to 130 farmers sell vegetables in the ‘uzhavar sandhai’ daily, while it goes up to 140 on Saturdays and Sundays. The daily turnover stands at Rs. 10 lakh, Mr. Arumugam told the delegates.
A senior official accompanying the delegates said that the Odisha government had plans to introduce a similar concept in the State.