A Solution to the Dearth of Profit in Vegetable Farming

The last December, the percentage of the currency exchange rate is 5.72 per cent. Everyone from The central government, Indian Reserve Bank,  and the economist’s group to the common consumers are very happy about this. Last year, the central government was u successful in controlling the currency value, so this year it is being happy to note the present statistics. But more than half of the farmers q common people in the country seem to be unhappy with this development. It is said that a huge price drop in vegetables is the prime factor of this happy news. This has affected the price of whole food grain products and materially it has put the inflation rate on the rise to the last year’s lowest rate.

Currently, as the consumers in the country are buying vegetables at the lowest possible cost, the farmers are suffering because of poor selling prices. During December, it is observed by reviewing the village markets in different districts of Odisha that the main veggies of the season like brinjal, cauliflower,  an age, tomato etc are sold below Rs 10 per kg. This is not a new problem in our state or the country. In the year 2017 also an incident of violence over the sale of onions in the Mandadour province in Madhya Parades stirred the country. In the same year, the tomato-producing farmers in the keonjhar district brought their produce and pure them on the road. So the winter season sale of vegetables at the lowest price is a traditional problem.

Paddy is the major crop in Odisha. It is connected with the social, economic and political life of people from every class. Paddy is included along with other twenty-two crops in the Minimum Support Price scheme of the central government. So as the government has facilitated the selling of paddy by announcing a fixed price for the crop as 2040 per quantal, the vegetables are not enlisted in that scheme so the government does not declare any selling price for them. Like Odisha, in many other states as well vegetables are the cash crop for most of the small and nomadic farmers. According to the data from the government of Odisha, our state is the first in the country to produce beans ( 71%) and pumpkins ( 25%). Our state is the second in the country to produce brinjals (17. 57%). Similarly, Odisha is also the highest sweet potato-producing state in the country. In the winter, around 3 lakh tonnes of potatoes and 4 lakh tonnes of onions are produced in Odisha. Though all the green vegetables like tomato, cabbage, cauliflower, parwal, bitter guard, and cucumber etc are widely cultivated in the state, the exact statistics of these productions do not appear to be published. The government does not bear the responsibility of the sale of these vegetables nor does it set a price for them. Therefore, the farmers who cultivate these vegetables don’t get a sufficient profit from these productions. The everyday weather forecast, import of foreign products, festivals, and cultural events also affect the prices of vegetables. Because of the application of scientific knowledge, the cost of seeds,  fertilizers, medicines and irrigation, are much higher than most vegetable varieties. Moreover, the price of all these agricultural appliances is not under the control of the government, so it is easy to imagine how the fathers in Odisha must be feeling when they have to grow such expensive crops and sell them at low prices.

As the government encourages the farmers by providing monetary support to increase the rate of production,  there have been no such steps taken to digitalize the storage, and inventory management system. The action taken by the Odisha Agricultural Marketing Council is not satisfactory. The quantity of the vegetables. Before production, the government does not have data on district-wise quantities in the vegetable sector, nor does it have any plans for sales. Our state is the unique junction of ten different climates. If the farmers are encouraged to produce specific vegetables within the climatic conditions, it could facilitate the channel for marketing these productions. This system has not yet been introduced. There is 131 cold storage in the state, 93 of which are completely inactive. Businesses are not interested in investing in cold storage due to uninterrupted power supply system, high investment and cash flow. Now the government has created a new scheme as Farmers Production Organization (FPO) in the state. The problem of selling vegetables could be curbed if this organization is empowered. The responsibility of the cold storage could be given to the FPO and could be supervised. A special A class officer should be appointed as Agricultural Marketing Officer in every district. They will keep track on the information regarding  the market situation, import- export of our production with the help of technology. If the provisions are made for the conservation of the domestic products,  the farmers can sell the everyday or nonseasonal veggies like potatoes and onions in a profitable price in a quarterly basis, without being forced to cultivate them all through out the year. After the failure of tomato cultivation in Keonjhar district in Odisha, the does not seem to be giving much importance to the agro- processing industry. By establishing agro- industry and linking it with peasant production groups farmers would be empowered and new agricultural employment would be created. In spite of all these, if any seasonal vegetables is getting sold in dearth price in the market, the district collectors are empowered to sell these products to the local educational and cultural institutions by setting a minimum support price for these vegetables. Therefore with proper government intervention and action plans the future of the farmers would be brighter and they can get their profit for their labour.