Surathkal farmers demand market for organic produce

Surathkal farmers demand market for organic produce

Organic farmers in Surathkal hobli, coming under Subhiksha Savayava Krishikara Sangha, have demanded marketing for organic farm produce. The Sangha, under Savayava Bhagya Yojane of the State government, comprises 81 farmers at Soorinje and Chelyaru villages in Surathkal.

Speaking at ‘Mevu Kshe-throtsava’ organised by agriculture department at the field of Ananthapadmanabha Bhat at Kullangalu in Soorinje, the farmers said they have adopted organic farming for sustainable development. However, the produce lacks marketing facilities, they regretted.

Geetha Shetty, an organic woman farmer, said, “The employment in farming sector is permanent. Without proper marketing of the produce, we have not been able to reap the success. I have started growing the agriculture produce organically for the last three years.I cultivate paddy, papaya, pineapple, brinjal, long yard beans and other crops. Last year, I could get only Rs 15 per kg of pineapple. But the shopkeeper sold it for Rs 25 per kg.” She also urged the officials to help the farmers in arresting peacock menace. The peacocks are damaging crops in the region, she added.

Livelihood woes
Sundar Sherigar, another organic farmer, said, “The farmers will never incur loss in agriculture. The land where we sow will ensure that we earn our livelihood. Organic farming was the order of the day in the past. Over a period of time, farmers switched to chemical fertilisers to increase the production, which in turn affected the fertility of the soil. There is no market for the organically cultivated produce here in Surathkal. We have to go all the way to Mangaluru to sell the produce.”

Surathkal veterinary hospital assistant director Dr Suresh called upon farmers to move towards nature and thereby increase the fertility of the soil. Rural Development Organisation Trust, Doddaballapur, implementing agency of Savayava Bhagya Yojane field officer Ashalatha Suvarna said   100 hectares of land in four villages of Surathkal hobli --- Chelyaru, Madya, Soorinje and Delanthabettu --- are into organic farming since the inception of Savaya Bhagya Yojane in 2013-14.

The government had released a grant of Rs 13 lakh under the scheme to Sangha for its activities. Out of 81 farmers, 54 farmers have received certification from the department for their organic produce, Ashalatha added. Assistant agriculture officer Absul Basheer, agriculture department deputy director Dr Mune Gowda and others were present. Organic farmers Chandrashekar Shetty, Vidya Shetty and Dayanand Banjan were felicitated on the occasion.