Ash gourd farmer in Karnataka gets helping hand from down under

People collecting ash gourd from the residence of Kiran J. Bhandary in Surathkal after it was bought by hotelier Sudhir Shetty through Mr. Bhandary to help a distressed farmer.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

While the government has said that agricultural activities would be unhindered during the lockdown, farmers have been talking of several logistical issues they have been facing in transporting and finding buyers.

Sunil Shetty from Balkunje village in Dakshina Kannada is among the few farmers who has got help from afar to ensure that his entire lot of ash gourd crop did not go a waste. A Good Samaritan from Australia saved him from financial distress.

Hotelier Sudhir Shetty, a native of Dakshina Kannada now doing business in Australia, has bought about 20 tonnes of Mr. Sunil Shetty’s produce through a friend, the Surathkal-based power system entrepreneur Kiran J. Bhandary. He asked Mr. Bhandary to distribute the ash gourd free of cost to those in need in the region. However, since offering ash gourd for free is regarded a taboo, Mr. Bhandary sold it at ₹1 a kg till Saturday.

Mr. Bhandary told The Hindu that he shared a video of Mr. Sunil Shetty explaining his plight of spending over ₹50,000 to raise ash gourd crop on his one-acre plot and getting nothing in return. Mr. Sunil Shetty had lost his crop in January too because of heavy rains and sought assistance. His friend Mr. Sudhir Shetty saw the post and decided to step in.

Ever since the restrictions kicked in, farmers have been posting distress messages on social media. A farmer from a village near Tumakuru posted on a Facebook group of agriculturists that he was prepared to sell ripe mangoes, which would cost ₹200 a kg in the market, at ₹60 a kg if someone was willing to buy them in bulk. He said it was difficult to get buyers as the window for commercial activities related to agriculture was too short to complete the entire process, from loading produce on vehicles to delivering it to wholesale traders and then to retail ones, he said.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 11:19:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/ash-gourd-farmer-in-karnataka-gets-helping-hand-from-down-under/article34521856.ece

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