Nattuchantha a big draw

The Ernakulam Nattuchantha took off in the last week of September.

The Ernakulam Nattuchantha took off in the last week of September.

The idea of nattuchantha is catching up, especially with widespread enthusiasm for safe-to-eat food. It started by word-of-mouth, says Hariram M.V., who was inspired by the nattuchantha in Thrissur. He says it was during last Onam that he came across the experiment in Thrissur, where mostly homestead farmers brought produce in excess of their requirement to a common place to sell them.

The Ernakulam Nattuchantha took off in the last week of September. It comprised a few farmers and there was word-of-mouth publicity. It has turned out to be a big success, says Mr. Hariram. He says about 600 to 700 buyers come to the weekly market on Sundays, held at the Government Lower Primary School at Kakkanad.

Homestead farmers bring produce ranging from nendran banana and elephant foot yam to home-made snacks and sweets such as payasam and avilosunda. Vegetable cowpea and banana flowers and stems are in big demand at the farmers’ market. Honey, tapioca, coconut oil, pepper, pumpkins and yams are sold like hotcakes.

A senior agricultural officer with the Farm Information Bureau, Rose Mary, says the concept has caught up and it augurs well for those who want to stick to local produce for their use.

Mr. Hariran says that he initially alerted his group of friends and farmers through messages on Facebook and on Whatsapp and since then several farmers have been registered.

Organic methods

The cultivation practices of farmers are verified before they are allowed to bring their produce to the Sunday market, says Mr. Hariram. This is to ensure that they follow organic cultivation methods.

Trading is prohibited, he adds, pointing out that only what is produced by a person is brought to be sold and no procurement is allowed from outside. He recalls that some people who initially attempted to use the forum as a trading point were prevented from doing so.

The task of the group coordinating the weekly market is to ensure that there is sufficient produce to meet the demand.

Though the market timing is between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., most of the produce gets sold out well before closing time, says Mr. Hariram, who works in a software company as a project manager.

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Printable version | Jun 30, 2022 5:46:59 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/nattuchantha-a-big-draw/article20366469.ece