Special Correspondent

Farmers to stage dharna on RMC Yard premises

Farmers growing fruits, vegetables are under the mercy of `dalals', says KRRS Government urged to formulate a system that will eliminate middlemen

MYSORE: The Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) has urged the Government to announce a support price for fruits, vegetables and flowers on the lines of paddy, sugarcane, cereals and other agricultural products.

The sangha said that farmers growing fruits, vegetables and flowers were under the mercy of the price fixed by "dalals" or agents. They continue to languish in poverty in the absence of a policy that provides relief to them by means of a minimum support price, the sangha added.

Drawing attention to the recent crash in the price of vegetables, the sangha said cultivators across the State were in dire strait and at the mercy of "dalals", merchants and even the police who harass them. Farmers growing fruits and vegetables in the State were incurring an annual loss of Rs. 5,000 crore owing to artificial deflation of prices, according to the sangha. Farmers were so desperate that they were prepared to abandon cultivating fruits and vegetables, the sangha said.

Farmers would stage a dharna on the RMC Yard premises in the city on Monday to highlight their grievances, the sangha said.

Their demands include a policy announcing a minimum procurement price for all types of vegetables and fruits and waiver of transportation charges in KSRTC buses and private buses among others.

The sangha demanded parity in procurement price for fruits and vegetables with the prevailing rate for meat products, as is the norm in developed countries. It sought separate markets for organic produce and those cultivated through chemical farming with a differential rate.

Criticising the Government for its indifference to the predicament of farmers, the sangha called for formulating a system that eliminates middlemen, agents and dalals, who exploit farmers to corner benefits. The Government should put an end to this menace and facilitate direct purchase from farmers.

Stating that these products were highly perishable in nature, the sangha demanded the setting up of cold storages at all RMC Yards to help store products during a glut. It urged the Government to ensure technological support to farmers from the Central Food Technological Research Institute.

Leader of the sangha K.S. Puttanaiah will lead the agitation.