Direct sales in Bengaluru help grape farmers in distress during lockdown

Krishnappa, Devaraj and Ramanjanappa, three brothers who are jointly cultivating the Red Globe variety of grape, at their vineyard in Harohalli, Devanahalli taluk.   | Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR

The timely intervention of the alumni association of the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru (UAS-B) has helped in rescuing growers of premium varieties of grapes in south Karnataka’s grape-growing belt of Chickballapur and Devanahalli during the lockdown.

Farmers who cultivate premium varieties of grapes such as Red Globe, Sharad, Krishna and Sonalika have now been facilitated by the alumni association to sell their produce directly to consumers in Bengaluru.

When traders started taking advantage of COVID-19 and started bargaining to buy at throwaway prices like ₹15 to ₹25 a kg, the association helped growers bring the produce to different areas in Bengaluru, where a mechanism was set up to sell directly to consumers with the involvement of local residents’ welfare associations.

“We began sales in Bengaluru on April 7. We have been able to sell nearly 320 tonnes of premium grape produce in the last 13 days,” said K. Narayana Gowda, president of the alumni association.

Consumers could buy Sharad/Krishna and Sonalika varieties for ₹60 a kg, as against ₹150 in supermarkets, and Red Globe for ₹90, as against ₹200 at private shops. “We now want to increase these prices to ₹70 and ₹100, respectively,” Dr. Gowda said. This initiative has helped in stabilising the market for premium varieties as the middlemen themselves have started quoting a farm gate price of ₹60 for these varieties, said some farmers.

“I have been growing grapes for the last 30 years. But this is the first time that we are getting money on hand, soon after the sale of our produce. The middlemen, who used to buy our produce earlier, would pay us in instalments over a period of time,” said Krishnappa, a grower of Red Globe variety of grape from Harohalli in Devanahalli.

Nandagopal, another grape farmer from Harohalli, profusely thanked the consumers in Bengaluru. “Some of the consumers even sat with us and carried out the work of weighing the produce. They gave us moral support, gave their mobile numbers, and assured us of spreading the word about the quality of our grapes among their friends,” he said.

The association is now thinking of fine-tuning the direct sales mechanism and making permanent arrangements for carrying out such activities from next year.

Associations interested may place orders with Gopal, an alumni association executive committee member, through WhatsApp, SMS or call on 81979 77076 or 92424 11611. Alternatively, contact the manager on 97316 51925 or via email: alumniuasb83@gmail.com.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 9:29:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/direct-sales-in-bengaluru-helps-farmers-in-distress/article31376311.ece

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