Keonjhar: Fresh vegetables grown organically by tribals in hilly areas are available in markets of this town all the year round. These types of vegetables have always been the first choice of people over those grown by farmers. This is because farmers use various types of fertilizers to grow their produces.
However, the organic vegetables disappeared from the markets when COVID-19 lockdown was in place. Now with restrictions eased and vehicles plying, the markets in this town have been once again flooded with these organic vegetables.
These days one can find papaya, plantain, cucumber, colocasia, egg plant, sweet potato, elephant foot yam etc being sold by the roadside in this town. Apart from organically grown, these vegetables are sold at comparatively cheaper prices to those sold by retail traders. This is the reason why people in this town have not been really hit the way consumers in other places of Odisha have been by the steep rise in vegetable.
According to some local residents, if the town has a cold storage centre, they will get more of these organically grown vegetables. At the same time, the tribals will also benefit.
“They come to the market by bus, trucks or pickup vans. Sometimes, they leave with handing over to us produces that are unsold. They do not want to take those back as they have to pay again for them,” said the locals.
“If there is a cold storage centre in this town, they won’t have to throw away their unsold produces and they will make good profits,” they added.
The tribal people also complained that they have to brave the weather to sell their produces. Sometimes they have to sit under a scorching sun, at other times they get drenched by heavy rains. All of them pleaded for some form of shelter over their heads.
“If there is a resting place allotted to us, it will be good. At times we return to our villages late into the night through dense forests. There is always the possibility of being attacked by animals. If there was a place to rest, we would have definitely taken shelter if needed,” they stated.
These days however, residents of this town are facing some problems accruing these types of organic vegetables. This is because retailers are buying of the produces in large quantities and at minimal prices. Then these traders are selling the same products at exorbitant rates, alleged some locals.