Rashmi Rekha Das

Driven to despair by being offered a meagre Rs 1.50 paise per kilogram for cabbage production, farmers in Bargarh district destroyed the entire plantation on their land to save themselves from incurring further losses.

Frustrated with low income and fed up with distress sale, distraught farmers of Ganchiatikra village under Sadar block of Bargarh district did not give a second thought before damaging the entire cabbage plantation on acres of land.

Farmers have used sufficient fertilisers and pesticides to grow cabbages. Despite working hard, people don’t even ready to pay Rs1.50 paisa for a cabbage. Annoyed with the distress sale, farmers destroyed their plantations with the help of tractors on Monday. 

Farmers alleged that their repeated requests to the district administration to set up a cold storage in the district for storing vegetables have failed to yield any results. Like the minimum support price (MSP) set for paddy, they demanded the state government should decide  MSP for vegetables.

Gopal Pradhan, a farmer said, “Had the state government set up a cold storage in the district for the wellbeing of farmers, the latter would not fallen prey to distress sale. We are not finding buyers for our produce. We are not even getting what they have invested in farming. The government is little bothered about farmers.”

The same is the case with tomato growers. In absence of cold storage, support from the government, and marketing facility, tomatoes are rotting in the field. Hundreds of tomato farmers belonging to Tulasidunguri village incurred huge loss. Needless to say that debt is back to haunt farmers of this region.

And ironically when the District Agriculture Officer was asked about farmers’ crisis, the former gave assurance of setting up of Cold Storage. 

The District Agriculture Officer Ashok Amat said “We would try to include beneficiaries  under Mukhyamantri Krushi Udyog Yojana and set up Cold Storage.”

It may be mentioned that an allocation of Rs.25 crore was proposed to support Farmers’ Producers Organisations (FPOs) in the production, aggregation, storage, processing, distribution, and marketing of agriculture and allied sector resources for sustainable development in the budget for 2022-23 financial year by the Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari.

Reported by Dipak Sharma & Karunakar Budek, OTV