Karnataka

Karnataka lockdown | Fruit and vegetable farmers and traders hit hard

A vendor throwing out rotten fruits inside the APMC Yard at Baikampady in Mangaluru.  

Farmers raising vegetable and fruits and merchants dealing with them, wholesale as well as retail, have been hit hard by the fortnight-long Janata Curfew and the lockdown that began on Monday with limited time available to dispose of produce.

Though the government has said that there will be no restrictions on agricultural activities, trading in the produce is limited to the window for essentials purchase between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., thus blocking the entire supply chain. While farmers are unable to harvest and sell their entire produce in time, wholesale merchants are unable to sell produce in time to retailers due to the time restrictions.

Secretary of Mangaluru APMC Varthakara Sangha B.K. Imtiyaz told The Hindu that wholesale traders who place orders with farmers have to lift produce whether or not they are able to sell them to retailers. The State-wide COVID-19 restrictions on commercial activities except between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. and the weekend curfew exclusive to Dakshina Kannada have affected traders severely, Mr. Imtiyaz said.

A wholesale trader in fruits at APMC in Baikampady here said that wastage used to be up to 30% of the produce during normal days. “With restrictions in place, more than 50% of the fruits go waste so as our income. Wholesale merchants are throwing away rotten fruits with there being no choice,” he said.

Nithin, a retail fruit merchant here, said that the reduced essentials purchase window has affected retail fruit vendors as they are unable to procure produce from wholesale traders, bring them to their shops and sell them within four hours. In Dakshina Kannada, this window has been reduced to just three hours thereby making things worse, he said. Consequently, their profit margins have shrunk with more wastage.

Meanwhile, farmers growing vegetables and fruits across the State have been airing their distress on social media platforms and appealing to people to buy their produce at field price so that they do not suffer losses. However, a majority of them are unable to dispose of their produce which perish fast.


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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 5:45:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/karnataka-lockdown-fruit-and-vegetable-farmers-and-traders-hit-hard/article34554069.ece

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