Special Correspondent

‘Direct linking of growers with outlets will help ensure competitive prices’

Most outlets are said to be running under losses

Annual turnover of 536 outlets in State is

Rs. 56.29 crore

MANGALORE: From November, HOPCOMS outlets will sell vegetables and fruits and at uniform rates all over the State, offering better prices than shops in their neighbourhood.

This assurance was held out by Chairman of the Karnataka Horticulture Federation (KHF) K.T. Gangadhar at a press conference here on Tuesday. He was here to review an action plan for trading horticultural produce in the districts of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Mysore, Mandya and Kodagu.

Although he agreed that most outlets were running under loss, he said the proposed direct linking of growers and outlets would enable outlets to sell produce at cheaper rates. He said the rates would be announced through the media. Outlets failing to adhere to the rates would be seriously dealt with. He, however, declined to specify what action would be taken against erring outlets.

Turnover

He said the State had 536 such outlets with an annual turnover of Rs. 56.29 crore. This would go up fourfold under a proposed plan to revive them. The plan would be launched by Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, he added.

When presspersons pointed out that HOPCOMS was established with the intention of linking producers directly with sellers, but had failed to offer competitive rates,

Mr. Gangadhar said he would personally come here to launch the scheme on November 1. “You will see how we launch it,” he said. Mr. Gangadhar was evasive in his reply when asked about the glut in the market that had forced farmers to throw tomatoes and onions on to the road every year in Kolar and north Karnataka. Although he said the federation had the wherewithal to shift produce to areas where they there was no glut in order to help farmers, he did not explain why this was not being done.

Mr. Gangadhar, however, said such gluts would soon be a thing of the past.

He said a Rs. 220-crore project to boost horticulture was being prepared. There was no scarcity of funds, and the federation would attempt to make them available to farmers through proper schemes. “KHF will soon emerge as a brand name,” he said.

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