Keonjhar: Farmers in tribal pockets of the district like Raisuan, Padmapur and Nuagan panchayats under Sadar block grow tomatoes and other vegetables on a large scale. However, tomato distress sale has hit them hard like previous years, a report said.
Farmers noted there has been no marketing facility for their produce while lack of cold storages has added to their problems. Unseasonal rains have affected their cultivation while unsold tomatoes rot in their fields or in their houses.
Farmers alleged that this happens in the district every year while consumers are hit hard by tomato shortage in other parts of the state.
Tomato farmers came to Keonjhar market Monday, but their produce remained unsold. They had to return home frustrated.
Jaynul, a local farmer, said the government makes no arrangements to help them with marketing, cold storages and food processing industries in the district.
Distress sale of tomato is routine in Keonjhar. The issue had rocked the State Assembly in 2018. Surprisingly, local traders in the state buy tomatoes from other states.
Experts said had the government encouraged local farmers with market support and procurement facilities, both the farmers and consumers would not have been suffering so much.
Earlier, tomatoes produced here were being supplied to Angul, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Sambalpur. Sukadev, another farmer, said they incur losses on vegetable and tomato cultivation as there are no takers for their produce. They are worried about how to pay off loans and private borrowings.
Farmers said if the government ensures supply of tomatoes to hostels of schools and colleges and sets up cold storages and food processing units, it would be beneficial for cultivators.