The Swayasraya Karshaka Vipani (SKV) under the Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Keralam (VFPCK) is all set to tap the Onam market by ensuring fair price for farmers and high-quality vegetables at discounted rate for consumers.

A total of 18 SKVs are functioning in Idukki and 9,159 farmers are members in them. They cultivate plantain in 1,353 hectares of land and vegetables in 2,216 hectares.

Bindu Chandran, district manager, VFPCK, told The Hindu on Wednesday that the agency would make a better marketing interference this Onam season and open nearly 200 vegetable retail markets across the State. The agency will procure vegetables from Vattavada, known as the vegetable bowl of Kerala, Kanthalloor and Marayur areas and market it through the SKVs. This will help in taking the farm produce from the district directly to the consumers, ensuring fair price for farmers and discounted rate for consumers, she said. Currently, farmers from Vattavada and nearby areas sell their produce to middlemen from Tamil Nadu and the vegetables reach retail markets in the State from Tamil Nadu.

VFPCK will open district-level retail Onam markets at International Stadium, Kaloor, in Ernakulam district on August 16 and in Thiruvananthapuram on August 17. This is in addition to a large number of retail Onam markets to be opened at the panchayat-level. The agency will provide 30 percent discount at the district-level markets and 10 percent discount at the panchayat-level markets.

Ms. Chandran said that farmers were getting fair price for their produce this season. Also, the decline in the arrival of banana (nenthrakaya) has slightly pushed up its price at the SKVs. The price ranges between Rs.29 and Rs.30 a kg, she said.

The reason for the low arrival ‘nenthrakaya' has been attributed to the decline in total production, early harvest and crop loss due to natural calamities. In the Adimaly, Kamakshy and Erattayar areas, ‘nenthrakaya' was harvested during April-May.

Bitter gourd, a favourite item of Keralites, will be harvested by September. The farmers are getting Rs.16 to 18 a kg for carrot, Rs.15 to 16 for beans and Rs.5 and above for cabbage. The average price of potato is Rs.10.

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