Mrunal Manmay Dash

A particular tall grass that grows on the hilly terrains of Kotia region under Odisha’s Koraput district is helping businessmen from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh to earn handsomely. Odisha on the other hand is losing a lucrative business opportunity.

The tall grass is harvested by the local tribes and then bundled to make brooms, which are quite popular in the region.

As per reports, businessmen and middlemen from the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh come to Kotia and pick up the brooms in bulk to sell in their districts. They pay around Rs 25-35 per broom to the local broom makers in Kotia and sell them at around Rs 60-100.

It is pertinent to mention here that the residents of Doliamba in the region have mastered the art of successfully cultivating and harvesting strawberries. However, the strawberries were hardly of any use to Odisha as they were all bought by businessmen from Andhra Pradesh.

The locals of Kotia alleged that the lack of market in Odisha has forced them to turn towards Andhra Pradesh.

“Other than ORMAS, nobody buys our brooms in Odisha. And the quantity is dismal too. However, middlemen from Andhra Pradesh come here with vehicles and buy from us in bulk,” said Ananta Tadingi, a local.

Ranjit Pangi, another local said, “Because the Odisha government has neglected us, the middlemen from Andhra Pradesh are exploiting the farmers here.”

Notably, just like strawberries, the Odisha government has been encouraging the locals of Kotia to produce brooms. But the lack of a market in the State is benefitting Andhra Pradesh more.

A local Sarpanch said, “The producers make the brooms and give them to women of SHGs who in turn sell them to other persons offering good margins.”

Asked about the dismal procurement, the CEO of ORMAS, Roshan Kartik said, “Our representatives conduct regular meetings in all the villages in the region. We pay them Rs 50 per kilogram while procurement. We do not know what other States are paying them, but ORMAS is paying them as per the set minimum selling price.”

  • Reported by:
  • Surya Narayan Panda