Buoyed by Wednesday’s Cabinet decision allowing procurement and market intervention, the Kerala State Horticultural Products Development Corporation (Horticorp) has launched a major drive to procure at least 10 tonnes of tomato from farmers in Palakkad district.

The Horticorp move is expected to benefit the farmers struggling to sell their produce following a crash in the price of tomato across the country.

As many as 650 farmers have reported a bumper yield of hybrid tomato from 1,000 acres in Perumatty, Vadakarapathy, Menonpara, and Kozhinjampara.

“We learnt they are willing to sell at Rs.1.75 per kg. Horticorp plans to procure the produce at Rs.5 to Rs.6 per kg and sell it at Rs.10 across the State through our outlets”, K. Prathapan, Managing Director, told The Hindu from Kochi, on his way to Palakkad to address a meeting of farmers on Friday. The procurement process is expected to be completed in two weeks.

Horticorp has also initiated talks with the Kerala State Agro Industries Corporation to produce value-added products like tomato puree, ketchup, and sauce.

The products are proposed to be manufactured at the Agro Industries Corporation’s processing unit at Punalur.

Dr. Prathapan said the products would be labelled and sold under Horticorp’s Amruth label.

“By giving us a free hand to procure vegetables and fruits and intervene in the market, the government has reposed confidence in Horticorp. We are now trying to rise up to the expectations”, he said.

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