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Distress sale forces Keonjhar farmers to dump sacks of tomatoes near Collectorate

Keonjhar: Though farmers in the district expected fetching profit out of their bumper harvest of tomatoes this year, distress sale has sadly shattered the hope the farming community in the district. Getting frustrated over the distress sale in absence of storage facilities, the farmers staged protest outside the Collectorate in an innovative way by dumping quintals of vegetables on road.

Farmers of Mahadeipada and Baradapala under Sadar block expressed their anguish in such a manner to draw attention of district administration. They alleged the traders are reluctant to give even Re 1 per kg, which is very meagre to meet the expenditure they have incurred on plucking. Such circumstances have put the vegetable growers in serious trouble over loan recovery.

“Due to abundant quantity of tomatoes, vegetable merchants do not agree to give Re 1/kg. We are forced to give village people free of cost. Now, we are unable to pay our kid’s tuition fee. Loan recovery has become an even bigger headache,” said Sarat Mahant, a farmer.

Another cultivator Rahas Pradhan also made similar allegation. “I invested Rs 3.5 lakh in my seven acre land and had a bumper harvest this year. But sale of these vegetable has been greatly affected due to oversupply. Government has utterly failed to store our produce for the future needs. With no other alternative, we were forced to dump the vegetable in front of the office of Collector to draw government’s attention,” Pradhan added.

As vegetables rot in absence of cold storage or food processing unit, the administration has assured of action after consulting the horticulture department.

“The Horticulture department has been asked for an inquiry. Possible measures will be taken to protect the interest of farmers after the report,” sub-Collector Sangram Keshari Swain said.

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