Aakanksha N Bhardwaj
Jalandhar, May 25
There were times when many tractors carrying tomatoes would go to mandi from Swal, a village in Sultanpur Lodhi, Kapurthala.
The village was known for its tomato production. Only a handful of farmers are left who sow tomato and majority have stopped cultivating the crop now and have switched to spring maize and other vegetables. Citing different reasons, the farmers said a high input cost, including labour cost, blight attack on the crop and no return forced them to leave the tomato cultivation.
Farmer Malkit Singh from the village used to cultivate tomatoes on 15 acres along with his brother. He has now completely stopped it. “I now grow other vegetables. We grew the crop for years but then decided not to do it anymore because of several expenses and no outcome,” he said.
Another village farmer, Gajan Singh, also reminisced that he started cultivation in 1995 on five acres and continued it for 10 years. “We had to shell a lot of money on labour. Earlier labourers would take Rs 3 per crate of tomatoes and now they take Rs 20 for the same. Another factor that stopped farmers from growing tomatoes is that the crop would also get damaged due to blight attack,” he said, adding that he now grows cauliflower and carrots.
Dr Sukhdeep Hundal, the Deputy Director Horticulture department said that it was true that tomato was a major crop in the village. “The department also wants the farmers to start growing tomatoes again as it has a great potential now. We will make them understand how cultivation will help them in earning well” he said.
Input cost rising
We had to shell a lot of money on labour. Earlier labourers would take Rs 3 per crate of tomatoes and now they take Rs 20 for the same…. the crop would also get damaged due to blight attack. — Gajan Singh, farmer in Swal village
Will encourage them
The Horticulture Department wants farmers to start growing tomatoes again as it has a great potential now. We will make them understand how cultivation will help them in earning well. — Dr Sukhdeep Hundal, Deputy Director, Horticulture Department
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