Nuagaon: Even as they are yet to recover from the last year’s distress sale of tomato, farmers in Nuagaon block in Sundargarh district are being forced to go for distress sale again this year.
In the absence of a proper cold storage, farmers have no way but to dispose of their produce at throwaway prices to middlemen. To make things worse, two existing cold storages are found locked.
Even as tomatoes are being sold for Rs 20-30 a kilogram in open market in Rourkela and other towns in the state, farmers in the block find it difficult to recover even the cost of cultivation as traders do not offer them more than Rs 8-Rs 10/kg. Vegetable growers are a worried lot fearing default in loan payments.
Though farmers had expected to make a profit from this year’s harvest, distress sale has shattered their hopes again. They are frustrated at the absence of storage facilities.
After repeated demand for a cold storage, the ITDA had earlier constructed a mini cold storage in Nuagaon block, but to no avail. Another cold storage was constructed at Rs 36 lakh in 2013-14. However, both the cold storages are closed now.
Even as there are two cold storages in the block, they do not function, farmers complained. Agitated farmers called out the government to construct a modern cold storage in the area to rescue them from present situations.
On the other hand, lack of awareness and support from the horticulture and agriculture departments has worsened the condition of farmers.
In the past, many farmers had sold their produce for Rs 50 paisa/kg while some had even given them away for free. The farmers had earlier resorted to demonstration by dumping their produce on highways and before the district collectorate. However, the administration is yet to ensure better market and storage facilities for tomato growers. PNN