Farmers in one of the largest fruit and vegetable belts have been demanding a Mandi centre and cold storage facility for years. The fruits and vegetables cultivated in the Dhari, Ramgarh and Okhalkanda blocks in Nainital district constitute the bulk of produce supplied to the Haldwani Mandi. However, the farmers have been short changed by middlemen and agents for many years. Fruits like apple, peaches, plums, apricot and vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, beans and peas are cultivated in these blocks. However, due to the absence of a Mandi centre and cold storage facility, the farmers are forced many times to sell their produce for cheap to the agents and dealers.
Local farmer Mahesh Galiya said that many times the farmers don’t even find the means to transport their produce to the Mandi in Haldwani. Deepak from Kaul village opined that if a Mandi and cold storage facility are provided nearby, the farmers will benefit considerably. Deewan Singh Mehta from Supi states that his village is about one kilometre from the road. He has to first transport his produce by mule to the road and then send it to Haldwani by vehicle. Due to this, many times, it becomes difficult to even recover the cost incurred on cultivation.
According to the Bhimtal MLA Ram Singh Kaira, soon after winning the election, he had requested the state government to open a sub Mandi centre and cold storage facility for Dhari, Ramgarh and Okhalkanda blocks. The MLA further said that the chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and the State’s Agriculture and Horticulture minister Subodh Uniyal have assured that sub Mandi centres will be opened in these blocks.
It is pertinent to mention here that at times the farmers in the rural areas of the district are unable to transport their fruit and vegetable produce to the market due to damaged roads. Apart from this, the time and money it takes to transport the produce to the Mandi in Haldwani eats up the profit of the farmers. At times, the middlemen dupe the farmers. Considering this, the establishment of cold storage, collection centre and Mandi centre could prove to be quite beneficial for the farmers here.
Friday, 11 September 2020 | Afjal Fauji | Nainital