Bhadrak: Despite a good harvest the cauliflower farmers of Bhadrak district are worried. The absence of cold storage facilities and the lack of government support have forced them to go for distress sales.
The farmers, who had taken loans and had toiled day and night, are now left with no option but to go for distress sales to clear their debts.
Paddy farmers too are facing a similar situation due to the delay in paddy procurement at mandis.
Sources said the average cost of production of a cauliflower is around Rs 8 to Rs 10. But farmers are now forced to sell at Rs 3 to Rs 4.
“It doesn’t even cover our labour. While the production cost of a cauliflower is Rs 10 we are selling three to four cauliflowers for Rs 10,” a farmer said.
As we have to repay loans we are now selling our produce to middlemen and traders at low prices, another farmer said.
“We are forced to sell at 50 paisa or Rs 1 to Rs 2 a cauliflower as we are under pressure to repay the loans we had taken for farming,” said farmer Bijay Pradhan.
Even though the cauliflower harvest has been good this year, lack of cold storage facilities has put the farmers in trouble.
Middlemen and traders from outside the district are exploiting the situation. They are coming in huge numbers to purchase the vegetable at throwaway prices from farmers.
“We are sitting in the market the entire day and hardly earn Rs 100 these days by selling our produce. If the government takes steps to preserve vegetables by setting up cold storages farmers could sell some of their produce in summer when prices are high,” said a vegetable trader.
A few days back cauliflowers were in high demand outside the district and truckloads were transported to other areas. The demand for Bhadrak vegetables is high in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and nearby areas.
Farmers demanded that the administration should take steps to stop the distress sale of agricultural produce.