Supply chain disruption can lead to shortage of essential commodities

Farmers are facing the brunt of the cascading impact of the 21-day lockdown though the authorities have announced that transportation of essential commodities will not be affected.

For, vehicle drivers and agents who are part of the supply chain are increasingly reluctant to transport the commodities over long distance as they fear being stranded or they do not want to be at the receiving end of the police enforcing a lockdown. And vegetable farmers are already facing the heat.

Hundreds of crates of tomatoes were left rotting at the APMC Yard in Mysuru and the rates crashed to ₹5 a kg on Sunday as there were no vehicles for onward transportation nor any purchasers. Nearly 200 tonnes of tomatoes were left to rot, said Kurbur Shanthakumar of Karnataka State Sugarcane Growers’ Association.

“Forget haggling over rates, most farmers cannot find a transport agent to take the products to market to reach the consumers as a result of which many cultivators are dumping the produce on roads and markets in case the vegetables are not loaded,” said A. Nagaraj, a vegetable cultivator and member of the Raitha Mitra organisation.

Devaraj, a farmer from Atahalli in T. Narsipur, said transporting vegetables from villages to the APMC yard is fraught with difficulties owing to disruption in the plying of goods autos. Also, many villages in the district have created barricades and dug up trenches to stop the movement of vehicles to and from their respective villages to keep outsiders at bay in the wake of COVID-19 scare, which makes transportation all the more difficult, he added. Basavanahalli, about 3 km from Bannur in Mysuru district, is a major hub for horticultural production. There are not less than 350 to 400 farmers in the area cultivating vegetables and all them are facing uncertainty. Sateesha, a cultivator who owns 7 acres of land, said he used to supply vegetables to all the weekly ‘santhes’ in the taluks. The outgo from the village used to be around 500 bags of various vegetables daily. But in the last one week, not a single bag has been transported, he said, underlining the unfolding crisis.

In the absence of buyers, there was large-scale dumping of tomatoes and other vegetables as only a small fraction of the produce could be loaded on the available vehicles on Saturday. As against nearly 120 to 150 vehicles of vegetables and other commodities that are transported from Mysuru to Kerala and Tamil Nadu, hardly a handful of vehicles are being loaded since the last few days.

There are check posts at Gundlupet and Moolehole in Chamarajanagar, H.D. Kote in Mysuru, and Kutta in Kodagu where the inter-State vehicles get checked and farmers citing commission agents say the drivers are reluctant to transport the commodities even if they are offered a higher transportation charges given the uncertainty over entry and exit. Even the entry to the city is difficult. And there are fears that unless this is streamlined, there could be disruption in the supply of vegetables and essential commodities in due course.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 5:04:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/supply-chain-disruption-can-lead-to-shortage-of-essential-commodities/article31201573.ece

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