Idukki: As the state government agency failed to provide timely payments, farmers in the winter vegetable cultivation hub of Kanthalloor in the district have been forced to move to planting eucalyptus trees.
According to the farmers, Horticorp, the government agency, did not procure vegetables in time and assure proper payments. Kanthalloor winter vegetable farmers’ society secretary Sojan P G said that Horticorp failed to provide Rs 11 lakh to the society during 2017-19.
“The society paid the farmers from its own funds. But Horticorp didn’t reimburse the society. Now, the society has no money to procure vegetables. In the absence of proper procurement, many farmers decided to avoid vegetable farming and started planting eucalyptus trees,” said Sojan.
A total of 701 farmers were engaged in winter vegetable farming in Kanthalloor region, he said. “In the lockdown period, many farmers cultivated more areas of vegetables but they didn’t get proper market and prices. This season, many farmers stopped farming vegetables,” he added.
“Earlier, many planted eucalyptus trees on their lands. Last year, many removed the trees and began vegetable farming there. But due to the absence of proper income from vegetable farming many decided to grow eucalyptus trees,” Sojan said.
According to farmers, agriculture minister V S Sunilkumar made announcements that the total quantity of vegetables would be procured and payments would be made on time. But nothing happened, said a farmer.
Horticorp district manager George Michael said that there was a due of payment to the society in Kanthalloor. “There are some discrepancies in the amount, which caused the delay. We will make the payments soon through the principal agricultural office,” he said.
Idukki principal agricultural officer V T Sulochana said, “We haven’t received any complaint about payment dues. We paid Rs 1 crore 5 lakh to 4,000 farmers, last year. If we get a complaint, we will take steps to make payments immediately.”

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