Talavadi farmers want value addition for tomatoes

Procurement of tomatoes at ₹ 1 a kg is a perennial problem faced by farmers in Talavadi hills who want value addition for their produce, to fetch better income.

Tomato, onion, chilly, potato, turnip, cauliflower, cabbage, ginger, beans, brinjal, beetroot, carrot, garlic, radish are the crops cultivated in over 35 villages in Talavadi that is located 120 km from Erode and borders Karnataka. In the absence of adequate transport facility and marketing opportunities, vegetables are taken to the 11 mandis and auctioned from where traders transport to wholesale markets in Erode, Coimbatore and Kerala. Hence, farmers are not getting the right price for their produce and were long demanding for effective steps to improve their livelihood.

Tomato is a major crop cultivated in the hilltop during November-December and harvesting is done in March-April. But tomatoes are currently procured at ₹ 1 to ₹ 2 a kg from them whereas the cost of cultivation is ₹ 5 kg.

“Many farmers failed to pluck tomatoes as they are not getting the price even to cover the labour cost,” said S. Manickam, a farmer of Talavadi, who had sold tomatoes for ₹ 2 a kg recently. In the absence of a cold storage facility, farmers were forced to sell their produce at the price fixed by the traders, he added.

Since tomatoes are available in large quantities, it can be processed into pulp, puree or paste so that it is purchased by tomato product manufacturing companies.

“If processing units cannot be started for lack of investments, mobile processing units can be deployed in the hill areas and the product can be marketed,” said Duraisamy of Gettavadi.

Farmers said that processing and value addition to their produce would fetch better and stable income and improve their livelihood.

“It is a perennial problem that remains unattended for many decades,” he added and wanted the new State government to fulfil their long demand.

Farmers said that when the production drops after May, the price of tomatoes would go up significantly. “But even then, we will not get a good price as traders fix the price,” he said and added that tomatoes also come from Chamrajanagar to the mandis.

Farmers also suggest that a regulated market could be established at Talavadi where they can sell their produce at a reasonable price. “Or the government should fix procurement rates for the vegetables grown here so that we could get at least a minimum profit”, said another farmer Velusamy of Panakahalli in the hilltop.

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Printable version | Jun 17, 2021 12:55:47 AM |

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