| Akhil Gogoi lends a helping hand to the farmers at Zoo Road Tiniali on Monday. Picture by UB Photo |
Feb. 25: The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) today helped farmers from Barpeta Road to transport 10 tonnes of vegetables to the city, as part of their initiative to assist them sell their produce directly to consumers here.
KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi and other members helped the farmers put up stalls at Zoo Road Tiniali and Chandmari and sold the vegetables themselves, bypassing the role of middlemen.
This enabled residents to obtain fresh vegetables at less than half the normal prices.
The farmers sold cabbage at Rs 5 per kg, tomato at Rs 6, cauliflower at Rs 6, squash at Rs 10, brinjal at Rs 8 and coriander leaves at Rs 15 per kg.
These vegetables are usually sold in the city markets at more than double the prices — ranging between Rs 15 and Rs 20 per kg.
“Yesterday, we sold cabbage at Rs 1.20 per kg to the wholesalers in Barpeta and today we got Rs 5 per kg here. I have sold around 500kg of cabbage and cauliflower and got more than Rs 1,500 today. It is a good initiative and we are ready to sell directly to customers here,” said Samad Ali, a vegetable farmer from Barpeta Road, as he attended to the crowd of customers at Chandmari.
The KMSS had earlier planned to sell the vegetables at six places but confined it to two, as stalls were not available.
“Today we proved that because of syndicates and middlemen, consumers here have to buy vegetables at higher prices while our farmers are not getting proper prices. We helped the farmers pass the police checkgates between Guwahati and Barpeta Road without paying any money. Normally, vegetable traders have to pay extra money at the police checkgates, resulting in increased prices. We will continue this for a week on an experimental basis and later help the farmers put up permanent stalls here,” Akhil said.
“Getting permanent stalls is a problem here. If the GMC provides the farmers with stalls at five places, we will be able to provide fresh vegetables daily at reduced prices. This will go a long way in improving the economic condition of our farmers,” he added.
Assam Chamber of Commerce welcomed the KMSS initiative. Its state convener Rupam Goswami said the KMSS’s move proved that vegetable prices went up because of the middlemen active in the state.