Mangaluru (The Hindu): Vegetable grower K. Ramanna travels 160 km between Mundaje and Mangaluru to sell chemical-free farm produces at the Savayava Santhe on Panje Mangesh Rao Road here on Sundays.
Be it tubers, leafy vegetables, cucumbers, snake gourds, bananas, lady’s fingers, etc., all get sold within three hours.
For over a two-hour journey (one-way) from his Kuriyadi village, near Mundaje, to Mangaluru Mr. Ramanna starts at 5 a.m. in his van. The middlemen-free sale on the road here starts at about 7.30 a.m. He has been selling them at the santhe for the past two-and-a-half-years.
Among 12 such vegetable and fruit sellers at the santhe, Mr. Ramanna has his own dedicated customers who wait for his arrival at 7 a.m. itself.
Pradeep Soori, a retired bank employee, grows chemical-free vegetables on the terrace and as well as on about 14 cents of his land at Hosabettu. “I purchased this land specifically to grow vegetables organically,” Mr. Soori said.
Mr. Soori was a free man by about 8.30 a.m. on Sunday as all his vegetables were sold out by then. There are customers who specifically ask for boiled rice sold by Narasimha Rao of Muduru village in Bantwal taluk.
“As it is direct sale between growers and customers, the santhe is profitable for growers,” Mr. Soori said.
“There is enough demand but short supply,” said K. Ratnakar Kulai, secretary, Savayava Krushika Grahaka Balaga, which is the promoter of the santhe.
Members of the grahaka balaga personally visited the homes of those growers and allowed them to sell their produces at the santhe only after confirming that they were grown organically, he said.
Addor Krishna Rao, president of the grahaka balaga, said that the santhe has created a segment of customers who look for chemical-free vegetables and fruits. It has also created demand for local vegetables. The growers consult each other and fix common rates for common produces.
Premananda Shetty, a regular customer, said that the taste of the vegetables proved that they were chemical-free. The santhe lasting more than two years itself proved that there are many takers for organically grown vegetables and fruits. The grahaka balaga also organises visits of customers to the fields of the growers, Mr. Rao said.
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