Cooperative department is also encouraging farmers to cultivate vegetables and supply them to direct procurement centres

As vegetable prices soar, the cooperative department is tying up with more farmers to source vegetables for Farm Fresh outlets. The move, which is likely to benefit both customers and farmers, comes at a time when onions cost nearly Rs. 60-Rs. 65 a kg in the open market. The 30 farm fresh consumer outlets run by societies however offer it for Rs. 40 per kg.

Farmers in various places, including Krishnagiri, who are supplying vegetables through cooperative societies, said they have been able to save upto Rs. 1 per kilo due to direct procurement. V. Srinivasan of Bagalur village in Hosur, who cultivates cabbages, tomato, beans and nool kol said that selling through the cooperative was more profitable. “I don’t have to spend on transport, packaging or pay commission if I supply the cooperative department. They pay cash on the spot when they weigh and take vegetables,” he said.

K. Ramanji, a farmer of Mel Soodapuram in Krishnagiri district, a member of the Bagalur Cooperative Society, said vegetables were grown in 100 acres in his area. “We were forced to bring down the acreage of vegetable farming due to the lack of enough hands. We have requested the government to send labourers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme to vegetable farms throughout the State,” he said.

On Thursday, minister for cooperation Sellur K.Raju visited vegetable procurement centres for Farm Fresh consumer shops in Krishnagiri district and interacted with farmers regarding the quality, production, price and varieties of vegetables.

The cooperative department has also tied up with the horticulture department of Andhra Pradesh to source onions from Kurnool. Officials said that about 20 tonnes were also being sourced from Lasalgaon, Nashik and 10 tonnes from Surandai in Tirunelveli district. “We are also approaching farmers in Tirupur. Fresh stock should arrive in a day or two,” an official said.

The department is also encouraging farmers to cultivate vegetables and supply them to direct procurement centres. About Rs.28.68 crore has been disbursed as loans to nearly 2,900 farmers in Nilgiris, Dindigul and Dharmapuri districts for vegetable cultivation. “We are serving nearly 6,000 consumers daily in farm fresh outlets. Sales have crossed over 1,158 tonnes of vegetables to the tune of Rs. 3 crore since mid-June,” said the official.

(With inputs from Deepa H. Ramakrishnan)

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