Nuagaon, Sundergarh:

Absence of cold storage: Indian tomato farmers resort to distress sales

While they have yet to recover from last year’s distress sale of tomatoes, farmers in Nuagaon -in the Indian Sundargarh district- are being forced to go for distress sale again this year. In the absence of proper cold storage, farmers have no choice but to sell their produce at throwaway prices to middlemen. To make things worse, two existing cold storage facilities have been found locked.

Even as tomatoes are being sold for 20-30 rupees (0.26-0.39 euros) a kilogram in open market in Rourkela and other towns in the state, farmers in Nuagaon find it difficult to recover even the cost of cultivation as traders do not offer them more than 8 to 10 rupees (0.11-0.13 euros) per kg. The growers are often fearful about defaulting on loan payments.

While the farmers had expected to make a profit from this year’s harvest, the distress sale has shattered their hopes again. They are frustrated at the absence of storage facilities. reported that after repeated demands for cold storage, there was a mini cold storage constructed in Nuagaon. Another cold storage was constructed in 2013-14. However, both cold storages are closed now.

Lack of awareness and support from Horticulture and Agriculture Departments keeps on worsening the farmers’ plight.

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