Kerala

Kisan Jeep offers link between farmers and market

The Kisan jeep collecting farm produce for sale in the market.  

Every time when his jeep rolls to a stop, Praveen Plavilayil rushes out of its driver seat and shouts, “ bring in your sacks, hurry up.”

The people, who are waiting at these points, suddenly get into action and take turns to stuff the empty space on board with the baggage in their possession. Within minutes, the jeep sets off to its next destination and then goes on to complete a loop of several collection points before returning, mostly by evening.

The service, named Kisan Jeep, serves as an important link between the farmers in Athumbumkulam -- a forest-fringe division and the market, these days.

Run by Mr. Plavilayail, an elected representative of the Konni Block Panchayat, with the support of a social media collective called Nattuchantha, it seeks free and direct transportation of the products from the local economy to their buyers.

The service, which operates on a pre-booking basis and covers a handful of villages ranging from Manneera to Kokkathidu, has been launched in view of the difficulties experienced by the local farmers in connecting with their markets during the lockdown days. With the restrictions on travel and public life, farmers here had seen their highly-perishable produces rot in the field and were forced to plow it back to dirt.

“The lockdown has wiped out the key markets for their produce, leaving farmers with huge volumes of excess. So, getting them to where it’s needed most is a new and urgent problem,” explained Mr. Plavilayil. The concept, according to him, is an extension of the barter markets organised in the region during the first phase of the lockdown last year.

To ensure a fair and transparent trading of the products, a representative of the local farmers too accompanies the Jeep on each of its service. The amount collected through the sales will be distributed among the contributing farmers on the same day.

Besides getting their products to the market, the service also intends to transport the distribution of high-quality seeds and fertilizers in the next phase, he added.

Besides the local farm produce including jackfruit and mango, it also facilitates the sale of products rolled out by the women self-help groups in these villages. To make sure that the process continues to work for the farmers, the members of the local vendor community too have been encouraged to join the fold.


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Printable version | Aug 3, 2021 8:38:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kisan-jeep-offers-link-between-farmers-and-market/article34869266.ece

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