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Communities and Neighbourhoods came together in South Delhi and Gurgaon to help Oriental Lily Farmer from Pithoragarh

Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan
Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan

Unlike many other businesses, the farmers who grow our essentials and non-essentials all have been hit very hard in these times of COVID-19. Their supply chains were disrupted, and many sustained severe losses as they got no movement pass during lockdown. It is not in anyway easy for these farmers to get back into the usual  business , or will they suffer long-term effects?

The farmers in the floriculture sector in Uttarakhand and all over the country are badly impacted due to the loss of demand for fresh flowers due to the shutdown. The farmers have a large volume of crop that was in various stages of growth and that require alternate strategies to utilise this crop being a perishable commodity. Village Story, an experiential squarefoot growing community and its partners are in the process of undertaking the Project “Sustainable Flowers” with the Government of Uttarakhand to support the affected farmer community in the wake of the shutdown due to the Covid Pandemic.

Social Media and Whatsapp groups are playing a great role in helping responsible information to be passed from one corner to the other of the country. It was a Facebook post by Village Story which alerted Lakshmi Arvind living in South Delhi and others in Gurgaon about the distress of a farmer called Hemendra Negi who has Oriental lilies in his farm in Pithoragarh near to Nepal Border and he wanted an opportunity to sell them in Delhi. The requests were personally done by Lakshmi in all whatsapp groups of the community and her friends communities living near by. It’s been ages since they had seen flowers because they weren’t available anywhere due to the COVID-19 crisis. Immediately all the groups messages were passed and the communities in South Delhi came together keeping all social distancing measures in place and bought flowers and helped the farmer at the time of crisis. There was a huge appreciation for the flowers as they were very fresh and were available in all different colours and  they hope to give him new orders too. By Evening the Community whatsapp groups were loaded with images of flowers adorning spaces in homes, says Lakshmi.

Such initiatives from Neighbourhoods and communities need to be the ways by which the they can help farmers at this point of crisis and later on. Direct buying form farmers are going to help them and thereby reducing the middlemen in the process and the communities get to cherish good products form the farmers at reasonable prices. Adopting farmers should be the new way of living to get away from crisis situations like these .IF the farmers are assured of incomes every month they also need not worry about economic returns.

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