The ongoing lockdowns in several states across India to curtail the deadly spread of the second wave of Covid-19 have made the lives of farmers and labourers more sorrowful. Large quantities of agricultural products are going unsold in various markets, including the Kolar APMC market in Karnataka, the second-largest tomato market in Asia.
The farmers in the Kolar region were forced to dump crates of tomatoes on the roadsides as they went unsold in the APMC market. The video of farmers dumping tomatoes is doing rounds on social media. The farmers were forced to dispose of the tomatoes out of sheer frustration as they were offered a mere Rs 2 per kg per 15kg crate, says Imran Khan, who uploaded the video.
The market usually supplies tomatoes to markets all over the country, this time every year. The tomatoes from here are being supplied to Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. Even Kolar APMC is the leading exporter of tomatoes to Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and China.
“We checked on the dumping of tomatoes on the sides of the road and found that they were tomatoes that had remained unsold at the APMC market on account of their quality,” Kolar district Deputy Commissioner Dr R Selvamani was quoted as saying.
“We asked our officials to find out and we learnt that out of the 1,200 tonnes of tomato which arrived at the Kolar APMC on Wednesday, as much as 70 tonnes were unsold because they were considered to be of low quality,” the Kolar DC added.
The lockdown in 2020 had also created similar problems. The farmers, however, have been hoping for a fruitful season. But, the Lockdown 2021 has smashed their hopes. Tomato farmers from five districts in southern Karnataka depend on the Kolar APMC market. In Kolar district alone, tomato is cultivated in as much as 10,000 acres of land.