Let someone eat it – Cover Story News

Chetan Bhor

Every morning, many farmers in Sanjegaon now empty out crates of tomatoes and fresh cucumbers for their cows and buffaloes. The rabi harvest has been good here, but there are few takers for the produce, so they feel it’s better to feed the livestock than let the harvest rot away. Most farmers in the village have not been able to access the wholesale markets in Ghoti or Nashik since the lockdown began. A few traders from Mumbai came with tempos and took crates of vegetables, but without paying. They told us they will pay if they get to sell the produce, says farmer Chetan Bhor. We don’t know if we’ll get any money, but at least somewhere someone will eat it.

On an average, the marginal farmers here harvest 30 crates of vegetables every alternate day during the two-month-long harvest season (February to April). Each crate holds 20 kgs of tomatoes, gourds, pumpkins or cucumbers, the popular crops here. The tomatoes have all ripened at the same time, but the 200 farmer families here have nowhere to sell them. We hope that at least sauce and ketchup manufacturers will come and buy these tomatoes and cucumbers so that they are of some use, says Bhor. And now the summer crop also looks doubtful. Farmers used to earn up to Rs 3 lakh during this period, but with no income now, people do not have money to invest in new seeds, says Bhor.

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