“Hundred farmers around Merlapadavu Church in Neermaraga have been growing vegetables for the Mangalore market. They grow tomatoes, different kinds of green vegetables, cucumber with thorns on its skin, ridge gourd, snake gourd, and bottle gourd. They are a part of an organic farming project run by Canara Organisation for Development Programmes (CODP) and get trained on vermicompost and biopesticides,” said Jeevan, project co-ordinator, CODP. Of them, 20 to 30 were growing completely organic vegetables, 20 use organic and chemicals, the rest use chemicals, he said.

Henry Saldanha said there was a high demand for lady’s finger and yard beans during rainy season (which coincided with several festivals).

Francis Rebello, who planned to sow white lady’s finger in a few days in Neermarga, said while it was sold for Rs. 40 a kg now, it would sell at Rs. 150 to Rs. 200 in September and October, especially on Ashtami. However, he said the trader got a larger margin of the profit than the farmer.

Mr. Bhat said at least 750 farmers in Dakshina Kannada grew organic vegetables. H.R. Yogesh, Deputy Director of Horticulture (D.D.H.), the Department of Horticulture, said: “It is not a big number, could be (possible). But they must be certified. Are they registered?” Mr. Bhat said they had not claimed that they were certified. However, they do not use chemicals, he said.

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