Tribal farmers demand cold storage and warehousing facility and more land to boost their income

They are fully content with what they grow in their fields.

Supplying natural, healthy and organic vegetables throughout the year to the nearest towns as well as rythu bazaars of Visakhapatnam provides them the bread and butter. With no interest to diversify into any other field, they have been eking out a living happily on the outskirts of Chintapalle, about 130 km. from Visakhapatnam. The place and its neighbourhood was once hotbed of Maoist activity. Any vegetable you name be it brinjal, beetroot, potato, lady’s finger or ginger or some spices, it is available in their fields though they are season-specific.

“Cultivation is in our genes. We work with passion and though our earnings are not enough, we live in peace as all our family members are involved in some way or other right from sowing seeds to harvesting and marketing,” said Khora Raghunath, 50.

About 45 tribal families, who migrated from Devuduvalasa near Araku on Andhra-Odisha border are now settled at Chavudupalli near Chintapalle. They speak Odia though they have shifted to Chintapalle several decades ago. Taking advantage of two hill streams, which pass near their fields developed by them in an area of 20 acres, the tribals grow cabbage for four months and leafy vegetables for 45 days. ‘Sahukars’ (local agents) come to their village in vans to pick up stocks and take them to Pedavalasa, Devarapalle and Narsipatnam shandies (weekly markets). Some of their yield finds its way to the Rythu Bazaars in the city. “Our only request to the authorities is to provide cold storage and warehousing facility. We also need more land so that our income level will be decent enough to meet both ends met,” said Khora Damodar, another farmer.

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