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Government Relief to Farmers in Karnataka

Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan
Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan

In the wake of the Corona Crisis and the farmers dumping produce, it’s a pleasure to be part of the State government to bail out different measures and to try help the farmers at this crisis says Kshama Patil, the Deputy Director of Horticulture. We see a whole hearted effort in Karnataka from the   Agriculture Departments, KVK, FPOs, Non -Government and ICAR organisations like IIHR and Agri Universities and Private Organisations, Individuals and  Residential associations in helping the farmers link with consumers.

Agri War Rooms have been launched in the last week of March itself to listen to the problems and complaints of the farmers and in a bid to help them tide over the crisis of the COVID-19. The objective behind setting up this War Room is to guide the farmers regarding how to procure implements and inputs and how.

Karnataka State Agricultural Produce Processing and Export Corporation authorities have been told to provide cold storage facilities for storing farm produce when it is not possible to get them to markets or sell them locally. Karnataka has a total storage capacity of 4, 40, 883 tonnes in 136 cold storage units, including 122 private ones.

The HOPCOMS comes to the rescue of farmers in Karnataka. Measures are being taken to collect produce from the farmers and not only sell the produce in its own outlets but also in Karnataka Milk federation Outlets. KMF, an apex body which is into production, packaging and selling of milk and milk products. KMF has over 1,000 outlets across the state. This is a welcome step as the farmers are finding it difficult to send their products outside the State due to quarantine measures all over the country. The KMF has been acting very compassionately with the farmers who are bringing these products to the Nandini Booths.

Earlier when KMF did not have enough platforms to sell the milk products, they were taking help from HOPCOMS. They had signed a memorandum with HOPCOMS that allowed them to sell their milk and the products. HOPCOMS used to provide them cold storage facility from KMF to keep these products. So HOPCOMS outlets used to sell milk along with sell fruits and vegetables.

The government already had done video conferencing with Bangalore Apartment Federation and Various Residents Welfare Association to help in bulk purchase. HOPCOMS also have been directed to facilitate its produce in bulk to residential localities too. The middle men have been cracked and the farmers have been given direct market facility.

But when asked about a 100 percent model which could be farm to fork post COVID-19 the Deputy Director replied by saying that reducing the middlemen involved in the supply chain will reduce once the farmers analyze and link it up with consumers at present. As soon as the products get delivered they would get money delivered to their account. So it makes sense for Farmer Collectives to function rather than individual farmers.

KVK Gonikoppal guided in transporting many products including Avocado from Chettalli Kodagu, to Bangalore. They helped them by posting information on Kisan Rath and Agri War Room opened at GKVK UAS Bangalore. Dr Krishnamurthi JDH Bangalore, Sri. Sashidhar DDH Madikeri, Sri. Chandrashekar, SADH Madikeri, Sri. Pramod ADH Madikeri have been instrumental in arranging permission and Vehicle Pass to transport Avacado to Bangalore. Likewise NABARD and KVK, Gonikoppal guides Puthari FPO for its work to help farmers across different districts. One main thing to be noted here is the recognition of the model that Puthari is working on: Sourcing food directly from the farmer to the consumer at fair prices for both, thereby creating stable farm gate prices and increasing consumption. There are even Agri Departments in Karnataka who gave the farmers solar-powered vending vans to the farmers to set up a procurement centre in the department premises.

Indian Institute of Horticulture Research (IIHR) Bangalore is also helping farmers associated with them getting linked to consumers. The Institute has also been helping farmers/ FPOs throught it's Technology Business Incubator –Business Entrepreneurship and start-up Support through technology in Horticulture (BESSTHORT). IIHR also is helping the farmers through its technology protocols in post harvesting developed over the time.

The Karnataka State Mango Development and Marketing Corporation Ltd. has an online Mango Sales Portal. These mangoes are directly sold by the farmers in the Portal. The consumer would get direct farm produces which are responsibly packed and delivered. You can order and buy directly from the growers to your doors steps through this online portal.

Likewise there are umpteen Farmer Producer Organisations and officials of horticulture, agriculture and other departments in the state helping growers to sell their produce during this current COVIS-19 Crisis. I think these show how effective organisations can be and we hope this becomes a model to other states and we hope these measures continue when the crisis situations lessens too. We think most of the farmers and farmer collectives now would have identified a buyer list so that he could approach with his products next time too.

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Hey! I am Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan. Did you liked this article and have suggestions to improve this article? Mail me your suggestions and feedback.

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