Summers are here! However, this time instead of going swimming or enjoying tropical fruits, all of us are confined in our homes. And, while this is a difficult time for everyone, farmers are struggling to sustain their livelihood.
During summers demand for premium farm produce generally rises but due to the lockdown farmers are unable to deliver goods to the market, reports India Today. So, with India’s farm supply chain in disarray, farmers are forced to feed fresh strawberries and broccoli to their cattle.
“Tourists and ice cream producers are the main buyers of strawberries, but there are no tourists now,” Anil Salunkhe from Satara district, Mumbai was quoted saying.
He was hoping to make Rs. 800,000 this season but is now unable to recover the production cost of Rs. 250,000. Anil is now feeding strawberries grown in his two-acre farm to his cows as it has become difficult to transport produce to big cities.
Munishamappa, a farmer near India’s IT hub of Bengaluru had asked nearby villagers to collect fruits from his farm for free. But as only a few people turned up, he was forced to dump 15 tonnes of grapes in a nearby forest. He had spent Rs. 500,000 on his crop.
The export of Indian grapes to Europe has also sharply decreased in the past few weeks due to the pandemic, said Dyanesh Ugle of Sahyadri Farms, the country’s biggest grape exporter. Another farmer Ajay Jadhav, who sells basil, iceberg lettuce and bok-choy to upmarket restaurants said his fellow villagers won’t take the vegetables even for free, reports NDTV.
“I don’t have a choice but to make manure out of these exotic vegetables. Rural folks don’t even know the names of these vegetables. Forget about them cooking these,” he was quoted saying.
Meanwhile, growers of expensive flowers such as gladioli, gerbera, and bird of paradise are worried as weddings are getting canceled and they generate a bulk of demand for them.
“In summer, I sell one flower for 15 to 20 rupees. Now nobody is willing to buy even at 1 rupee,” said Rahul Pawar, who owns a 2-acre flower farm was quoted saying.
He had to dump his precious flowers into a compost pit. It is a really tough time for farmers all around India as their crops are going to waste. We hope the situation comes under control soon so that farmers can start selling their fresh produce to customers.