Manipal: Farmers of Udupi district who were not getting proper prices for the vegetables cultivated by them can look forward to better days. The School of Management, Manipal in association with NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) and local agencies will help them sell their vegetables directly to customers, removing the need for middlemen.
The initiative will be inaugurated on Friday by district minister Pramod Madhwaraj at Tiger Circle, Manipal. Farmers from over 10 villages have formed a co-operative society with an intention of doing away with middlemen and getting a good price for their produce. "Farmers usually sell their produce to middlemen for peanuts, who then make good profit. So we have come up with this project where farmers can sell their products directly to end users," said Harisha G Joshi, professor, School of Management, Manipal Academy Higher Education.
After brainstorming on how to make farmers reap more benefits, a cooperative society of farmers in association with MAHE and NABARD was formed. Named as Tarkari Belegarara Sauharda Society, it will help farmers sell their produce in Manipal and Udupi through mobile markets.
"Usually Udupi depends on neighbouring districts like Shivamogga, Chikkamagalur and Hassan for vegetables. However, some of the villages in Udupi grow fresh cucumbers, gherkins, lady's finger, eggplant, cow peas, sweet potato, pumpkin, amaranthus, spinach, ridge gourd, bitter gourd and other vegetables. All these veggies have a unique taste compared to other district due to its soil," added Joshi.
The vegetables will sold at a dozen designated spots in Udupi and Manipal on a daily basis. The mobile numbers of the customers will be collected so that they are informed in advance about the availability of vegetables.
Raghavendra Bhat, a farmer from Kokkarne told TOI that it was a good initiative. "Earlier, middlemen would buy a kg of brinjal for Rs 12-15 and later sell it for Rs 40. However, now, we will not only sell our produce at lower prices but also ensure they are very fresh."