‘Uzhavar Sandhais', farmers' markets, seem to have their own customer base in the city's suburbs despite the mushrooming of retail vegetable stores.
Of the six farmers' markets in Tiruvallur district, the ones in Avadi and Tiruvallur attract many customers. Proximity to the railway station and bus terminus brings in nearly 1,000 customers daily to the facility in Avadi. While the market in Avadi sells five tonnes of produce daily, the sales at Tiruvallur touches nearly seven tonnes every day.
S.Lakshmi of Pattabiram prefers to shop in the Uzhavar Sandhai as it offers quality vegetables at a nominal price. “Normally, such markets sell locally grown produce. Here, I also get to buy veggies from hilly regions such as carrots and potatoes sold at least Rs.3 less than the other retailers,” she said.
The working hours of the market have been extended till 7 p.m. as many people returning from work buy vegetables.
Farmers too preferred to sell their produce here as there are more takers here. V. Umapathy of Pammadhukulam said, though the market in Red Hills is closer, he does not mind travelling a few more km to Avadi as there are more takers. Among the southern suburbs, the first uzhavar sandhai was established at Pallavaram in 2001. Initially it made roaring business with an uninterrupted supply of farm fresh vegetables, especially from the Pushpagiri – Padappai belt, about 15 km from Tambaram.
Staff of the Agriculture Department said the Pallavaram market sold more than 10 tonnes of vegetables daily. The sales have now come down to half that quantity as people do not want to travel long distance.
Similar markets are functioning at Nanganallur, Nemilichery, Medavakkam and Guduvanchery.
Sakunthala, who runs a mobile eatery in West Tambaram, said opening more such markets in commercial hubs would be of immense benefit, she added.
Sale of vegetables in Medavakkam has also become dull. As farmers in villages nearby cultivated vegetables, it had the potential for doing brisk sales. “We are taking measures to bring more produce and create awareness about the market,” said staff of Agriculture Department.
P.Arjun, hailing from Udupi, Karnataka, suggested establishment of cooperative outlets on the lines of Bangalore.
Keywords: Uzhavar Sandhai