The Telegraph
Friday , January 17 , 2014

Campus haat for organic veggies already a hit

- XLRI initiative helps farmers get fair price while staff enjoy fresh, chemical-free greens

Premium management cradle XLRI has now extended a helping hand to Musabani farmers by inviting them to sell fresh, organic vegetables on campus every Sunday.

The move, for which XLRI has joined hands with social outfit Seeds, is aimed at ensuring that the farmers, who do not use chemical fertilisers to boost yield, get a good price for their produce.

The haat, however, is only open to families of XLRI staff and residents of CH Area.

The initiative was launched last Sunday with three farmers from Musabani turning up on the premises to sell bottle gourd, brinjal, tomato, beans and other vegetables.

The maiden day of the haat saw the farmers doing good business with residents of the campus picking up most of the organic veggies.

As for prices, the fresh green vegetables were sold at rates higher than local market prices. The difference was, however, in the degree of freshness, the organic tag being the clincher.

While tomatoes were available at Rs 20 a kg, spinach could be bought at Rs 20 a kg. A large cabbage was available at Rs 15, bottle gourd cost between Rs 20-Rs 30 a kg, and green chillies were priced at Rs 60 a kg.

“This is an initiative aimed at helping farmers, who remain restricted to their villages and sell their produce to wholesalers at low prices. We are giving them the opportunity to sell veggies directly to the consumers at market rates once a week. The move is also benefiting XLRI staff and their families as they are getting fresh organic vegetables free of the harmful effects of chemical fertilisers,” said Sunil Varughese, chief brand & sustainability officer of the management cradle.

Residents of MDP, a guest house, and Tome’s Residence, home to Jesuit fathers, can also buy the vegetables apart from faculty and staff families.

In future, XLRI is planning to organise the haat on Wednesdays to ensure regular supply of fresh veggies.

In winters, the mart will run from 11am to 2pm. The timing will change accordingly in summers.

“As people have come to know about it, we are getting requests from nearby residential colonies who are ready to give space to the farmers. At present, the haat is just meant for XLRI campus. However, we are thinking about the matter,” said Shubhra Dwivedy, CEO and founder of Seeds.