Kerala

Unkept promise leaves tribes in the lurch

Bundles of pointed gourd kept ready for transport at Kammalankudi, Marayur.

Bundles of pointed gourd kept ready for transport at Kammalankudi, Marayur.  

Marketfed cancels purchase order of pointed gourd cultivated by farmers

Farming of pointed gourd (kattu padavalam) has left a bad taste in the mouth of tribal farmer Sivadasan of Kammalankudi, Marayur.

The backtracking of Marketfed from its purchase order has left several tribal farmers like Mr. Sivadasan in the lurch.

Unsold

Currently, nearly15 tonnes of the dried medicinal plant that comes with a bitter taste, remains unsold. “I have been waiting for buyers for over a month for 150 kg of the produce,” says Mr. Sivadasan. The stem, leaves, and root of the plant are essential ingredients in Ayurvedic medicines.

“Huge quantities are lying unsold in tribal hamlets. The tribespeople went for farming after Marketfed made a purchase offer,” said K.V. Binoji, the facilitator of the Participatory Forest Management Scheme.

They harvested 34 tonnes this year. However, the agency backtracked, he said.

The purchase orders by some of the private Ayurveda drug producers partly saved a few farmers. However, a large quantity remains unsold, said B. Ranjith, Divisional Forest Officer, Marayur.

Manikantan, another tribal farmer, was lucky as the medicinal plants from his farmland was purchased by a private firm. However, 2,000 kg of kadukka, the seed of a medicinal plant collected by tribespeople from forests, remained unsold, said Mr. Manikandan, also president of the Kammalankudi Vana Samrakshana Samithi. The medicinal plant, said P.A. Shamsudheen, the marketing adviser of Marketfed, is now widely available in places outside Marayur and that too at a lower price, which forced the agency to cancel the purchase order. The tribespeople had priced it at ₹195 a kg. But it is now available at around ₹110.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 10:18:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/unkept-promise-leaves-tribes-in-the-lurch/article31596478.ece

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