FPOs ensure income for farmers in Bargur Hills

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When families of daily wagers and workers of unorganised sector faced challenges during the COVID-19 lockdown, Farmers’ Producers Organisations (FPOs) in the district played a significant role in procuring and marketing farm produces from the small and marginal farmers in Bargur Hills that ensured sustained livelihood for them.

Brinjal, beans, green chilli, banana, chow chow, tamarind, millets and jackfruit are grown in the hill area as 80% of the crops are rain-fed.

Also, bee keeping is done by the farmers while Bargur cow and buffalo milk are produced by the farmers and procured by Surabi Milk and Agri Products Producers Group that has 166 farmers as its members.

Direct sale

Vegetables, fruits, honey and milk are sold directly to customers in Gobichettipalayam, Anthiyur and in the city. Due to spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus in the district, complete lockdown was enforced, and movement of these products and milk from the hills was completely stopped.

“We found 10 tonnes of vegetables, 8,000 litres of native cow and buffalo milk and eggs and chicks grown in backyard poultry farm could not be moved to the plains due to lockdown”, said P. Alagesan, Senior Scientist and Head, ICAR Krishi Vigyan Kendra – MYRADA, Gobichettipalayam. KVK that was instrumental in forming Surabi took up the issue with Collector C. Kathiravan and trucks were permitted to transport vegetables and milk from Bargur hill to Anthiyur. After a week, trucks transported the products to the plains and door-to-door sales were carried out and the income was shared with farmers.

Likewise, Kazhani Farmers Producer Company Limited at Kallipatti in Gobichettipalayam Taluk marketed seedlings, grocery items and bio-inputs to the farmers, Mr. Alagesan said and added that two school buses were used to market the produce in Gobichettipalayam and Anthiyur areas.

“These two FPOs ensured regular income for 625 farmers, 120 tribal farmers and 25 backyard poultry entrepreneurs as products worth ₹18.35 lakh were sold during the 48-day period”, he added.

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