Keonjhar: The government has announced the opening of cold storages in several districts for storing the farmers’ produce, but Keonjhar district has no such facility yet, leaving the farmers in distress.
With the district not having a cold storage, the farmers cannot save their harvested products from getting perished.
Recently some tomato growers in Telkoi dumped their produce on the road, protesting against the government for not opening a cold storage in the district.
With no cold storage facility, the farmers who generally grow their products after taking loan from banks, are forced to sell their products at half rate than the market price.
A few years ago, the administration had taken steps to supply tomatoes to all residential schools in the district to check the distress sale of tomatoes.
This move had helped not just the farmers but also the inmates of such schools.
While the farmers received the true value of their produce, the students had ample vegetables to eat.
The process continued for some years, but later the administration discontinued it.
Similarly, the district administration had chalked out a plan to set up food processing units at rural pockets, particularly in those areas where tomatoes are largely cultivated.
That plan was also shelved. Some tomato growers said that if these facilities are made available to them, their products will no longer get perished.
While tomato is selling at Rs 10 per kg, the price of cabbage or cauliflower is Rs 10 apiece.
But the businessmen buy vegetables directly from the growers at a far lesser price, forcing the farmers for a distress sale.
Presently the farmers in Sadar and Telkoi areas are agitating against the apathetic attitude of the government and administration by dumping the tomatoes on roads.
When contacted, Deputy Director of Agriculture Om Prakash Rath said the district has no cold storage facility. Due to this, the farmers are also unable to avail themselves of loan facilities. “As of now, suggestions have been given for setting up of small cold storages in different parts of the district,” he added.