ERODE: In yet another step aimed at empowering farmers, the district administration here has entered into an understanding of sorts with a commodities journal.
As per the understanding, in other words a suggestion from Collector T. Udayachandran, the journal, `Star Mail' has been bringing out `Uzhavar Malar'. The four-page pullout is part of the `Mail', which carries prices of nearly 100 commodities in markets across the country. The `Malar', however, carries prices of agricultural produces in Erode district, Tamil Nadu and neighbouring states. Besides, it predicts the rise and fall in prices of produces in various markets and explains the reasons as well.
The latest issue of the Malar says the flow of banana to markets in Sathyamangalam and Gobichettipalayam has increased and that it is a fallout of recent rains and strong winds. It also informs farmers that the price of banana in the two markets is lower compared to that in Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam.
Mr. Udayachandran says the reason is that farmers, usually stuck with a single crop and market, are not aware of prices elsewhere. "It is to empower them with market information that we have taken a small step." He further says that the market information, hitherto confined only to traders and middlemen, will now be available to farmers also. "Among the subscribers of nearly 8,000 copies of the `Mail', fewer than 1,000 are farmers."
Mr. Udayachandran says the efforts to take the market information to farmers will not stop with just the tie-up. "We plan to display information through an electronic display board at important places like bus stand. Besides, the `Star Mail' and the supplement `Uzhavar Malar' will be sent to panchayats and village libraries."
At the `Star Mail' office, the people are elated. Editor and publisher S. Mohamed Rafeek says the `Malar' has had good response since its publication. The `Mail' and `Malar' are out on Thursdays and can be obtained only by subscription.