| Vendors at the Uzan Bazar vegetable market. Telegraph picture |
Feb. 22: This Sunday, you can buy farm-fresh vegetables straight from farmers at almost half the price charged by your local vegetable vendor.
The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) today announced that it would facilitate farmers to directly sell their produce to customers in the city — bypassing the middlemen.
“We will help farmers to sell their vegetables at five to six locations in the city. The names of these places will be announced tomorrow,” KMSS general secretary Akhil Gogoi said today. “Our basic aim is to do away with middlemen who eat into the farmers’ profit and to provide fresh vegetables to the people of the city at a much cheaper rates.”
“We are starting this initiative on a pilot basis, and based on its success we will expand it further,” he said.
Gogoi claimed that when farmers sell vegetables at Rs 4 to Rs 5 per kg, the same produce is sold in the city at Rs 20 to Rs 25 per kg, which means that the lion’s share of the profit is taken away by middlemen. The KMSS will arrange for transportation to ferry the vegetables and provide places for farmers to set up a market, he said.
Gogoi said they met Assam agriculture minister Nilamani Sen Deka today at Dispur and requested that the Agricultural Marketing Board to bear the cost of transporting the vegetables.
“The minister has assured us that a decision to this effect will be formally taken by the government tomorrow,” he said.
If the state government encourages farmers to sell their produce directly to customers in the city, then they can bypass the wholesale market chain and people will also get the vegetables at cheaper prices, Gogoi said.
Prices shoot up as commissions get added at every point in the supply chain, he said.
Farmers from Barpeta, Kharupetia and other places are likely to travel to the city with fresh stock and sell it at designated locations.
Gogoi said the KMSS has filed an affidavit containing names of 100 bogus financial companies in Gauhati High Court. According to him, these companies were allegedly collecting deposits from people without getting permission from the Reserve Bank of India.
The KMSS recently moved Gauhati High Court with a prayer for taking suo motu cognisance against these companies, which vanished after collecting thousands of crores of rupees from gullible people of the state.
“When we moved the high court, we submitted a list of 23 companies and now we have submitted an additional list containing names of another 100 such companies,” he said.