SOURCE: E-BOOK ON SUCCESS STORIES RELEASED BY THE PRIME MINISTER ON CIVIL SERVICES DAY 2017
Madanapalli’s tomato farmers are not leading a rosy life. In fact, they are bogged down with major problems like severe price fluctuation, poor marketing strategies for selling their produce and the never ending greed and exploitation by commission agents in the market yard.
B.Vali Reddy, a farmer of Narepalli village in Rama Samudram Mandal of Chittoor District, says, “ I cultivated tomato on my one-hectare field and sold the produce through the commission agents at the market yard at the rates fixed by them. I also had to pay an additional 15-20% commission towards damages besides paying rental charges for plastic crates,”
Due to lack of awareness about quality plant material, production based interventions, post-harvest technologies and marketing strategies, he and his fellow farmers are incurring huge losses every year and seeking assistance from the Government to overcome the situation.
A number of awareness programmes jointly conducted by e-NAM officials, the Market Committee and Horticulture Department motivated them to adopt modern methods of agriculture.
With knowledge of quality plant material, trellis system, drip irrigation, mulching, fertigation and post- harvest technologies there was an immediate improvement in productivity from 40 tonnes to 48 tonnes and also a 60% saving in water consumption.
The Government also provided a farm pond with solar energy for providing relief during droughts.
Before e-NAM market, the farmer was averaging a price of INR 7.5 /kg and now he earns INR 12/kg. After witnessing Reddy’s success, the neighbouring farmers also started participating in the e-NAM market. They also use the soil testing lab facility in the market and are adopting good agricultural practices as per the advice of horticulture officer stationed in the market yard.
“With the Government’s support through the subsidies under State and Central funds, I was motivated to bring my produce to e-NAM market. Horticulture Department also helped me to produce quality tomatoes; plastic crates supplied under Block Resource Group funds helped me save about INR 1.6 lakhs/hectare. And, today I get very good price in e-NAM’s open auction which charges just 4% as commission.” Reddy says with a broad smile.