Manmeet Singh Gill
Amritsar, June 8
Believe it or not, the tomatoes you bought for Rs 20 per kg from a hawker are being purchased for Rs 5 per kg from a farmer.
A 20 kg crate of tomato was being sold by farmers for Rs 100 to Rs 110 at Vallah sabzi mandi here. It would be naive to blame the vendor entirely for inflated price as he also purchased it for a minimum of Rs 10 per kg from a commission agent (arhtiya).
Considering the fact that the farmer has to pay for seed, labour, pesticides, harvesting and transportation charges, his actual profit from the sale of his produce turns out to be almost negligible. Ironically, the price of tomato doubles as soon as it reaches the yard of the commission agent.
Vegetable cultivation as compared to paddy and wheat is a labour-intensive job and in most cases is done by small farmers who do not have the means to store the produce or transport it to the far off markets.
Amreek Singh, a farmer from Mehta, said, “If we consider our own labour cost, there is hardly any profit.” Similar was the case with lady’s finger. While farmers sell it for Rs 15 per kg, consumers buy it for Rs 40 per kg. Cauliflower, which fetches a price of Rs 25 per kg, was being sold to the consumers for Rs 60 per kg.
The huge difference in prices at which farmers sell their produce and the residents purchase, puts the spotlight on middlemen who earn maximum revenue.
Lakhbir Singh Nizampura, chief, Vegetable Growers’ Association, said, “This season, vegetable growers suffered huge losses as untimely rain damaged the seedlings.”
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